Reformation Day 2012: Remembrance and Reconciliation

Oct 27th, 2012 | By | Category: Blog Posts

In the United States, the Reformed and Lutheran traditions celebrate tomorrow (October 28) as Reformation Sunday, in memory of Martin Luther’s act of nailing his ninety-five theses to the door of the Wittenburg Church on October 31, 1517. The celebration is understandable because that event marks the beginning of the Reformation and of the resulting Protestant theological traditions. Catholics too can be grateful for the comprehensive ecclesial reforms implemented at the Council of Trent, which was prompted in part by Luther’s protest. At the same time, as Stanley Hauerwas explained in his well-known Reformation Sunday sermon from 1995, we must not overlook one of the subsequent fruits of Luther’s actions, namely the myriad divisions that now separate those who name the name of the Lord. The positive effects of the Reformation can easily blind us to a condition of disunity among Christians that grieves the heart of Christ. Concerning that disunity, the Second Vatican Council declared, “Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.”1 Liturgical celebrations shape and form our values and sensibilities. In this way, celebrating Reformation Day in an unqualified way can unintentionally dispose persons to approve tacitly the resulting schisms, or incline persons to complacency and indifference toward them. The problem of complacency toward these divisions extends both to Protestants and Catholics. Ask yourself the following two questions: How many times during a Sunday service or liturgy over the past year have you heard prayers for the reconciliation of Protestants and Catholics? How often is this request among your own prayers?


The Belfast “Peace Wall” dividing Catholics and Protestants

If a child’s parents are divorced when she is an infant, and she grows up trading weeks and weekends between mom’s place and dad’s place, she might not have any felt perception of the disorder of the situation. For her, the separation of her parents can seem to be the status quo. Having been formed within that environment her entire childhood, her social situation might feel ‘normal’ to her, and she might think nothing of it. Something similar can happen to Christians who grow up in the aftermath of the proliferation of schisms, where in a three mile stretch of road one can count the meeting places of fourteen different Christian denominations, some directly across from each other. Christians can drive such a road daily and think nothing of it. No grief wells up within them, no stab of pain in their heart, no silent prayer lifted to heaven: “Lord, have mercy.” What began as a separation in protest long ago has become so normal that it perceptually disappears, while the separation remains.2 The child described above might even attempt to defend the divorce by claiming that her parents love each other in their hearts. But she knows from her own experience that true love longs for the presence of the beloved. “If we love one another, we strive to deepen our communion and make it perfect.”3

True love is not content with separation. Christians cannot rest content with separation from others who love the Lord, because according to Christ, Christians are to be characterized by their supernatural love for one another.4 The movement aimed at reconciling and reuniting presently divided Christians is prompted by the Holy Spirit, and is referred to as the ecumenical movement. In charity it pursues agreement in truth, never compromise: “In matters of faith, compromise is in contradiction with God who is Truth.”5

In the century following Luther, the conflict between Protestants and Catholics was often bloody and violent. Pockets of that violence have remained even until very recent times.

Jesus “broke down the dividing wall of hostility … through the Cross, thereby bringing the hostility to an end”; (Eph. 2:14).

The “Peace Wall” in Belfast is a visible expression of the wall that still separates Protestants and Catholics all over the world, not from acts of violence against each other, but from the fullness of visible communion in the bond of peace. The wall separating Protestants and Catholics is a stumbling block to a world looking for the path to true community, and a conveniently accessible means for discrediting and dismissing the Christian claims, in the hands of those who seek the extinction of the Christian faith. Pope Paul VI wrote,

As evangelizers, we must offer Christ’s faithful not the image of people divided and separated by unedifying quarrels, but the image of people who are mature in faith … [T]he destiny of evangelization is certainly bound up with the witness of unity given by the Church … At this point we wish to emphasize the sign of unity among all Christians as the way and instrument of evangelization. The division among Christians is a serious reality which impedes the very work of Christ.6

Why did Christ pray for all those who would believe in Him, “that they may all be one”?7 Why is unity the first mark of the Church stated in the Nicene Creed? Why did St. Paul exhort the Corinthian Christians “by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment”?8 Why did he instruct them that God had designed the Body of Christ “so that there may be no division in the Body”?9 Why does St. Jude teach that those who cause divisions between Christians are “devoid of the Spirit”?10 The answer is that the Church is the witness to the world of Who God is. The unity of the Church is to reflect the truth that God is one, as proclaimed in the Shema: “Hear O Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is One.”11 A proliferation of sects suggests instead some sort of polytheism.

The unity of the Church likewise reflects the perfect communion of Christ with the Father. The Spirit of Christ is this communion, and the unity of those filled with Christ’s Spirit is a participation in the divine communion of the Blessed Trinity. In 1995 Pope John Paul II wrote:

This unity, which the Lord has bestowed on his Church and in which he wishes to embrace all people, is not something added on, but stands at the very heart of Christ’s mission. Nor is it some secondary attribute of the community of his disciples. Rather, it belongs to the very essence of this community. God wills the Church, because he wills unity, and unity is an expression of the whole depth of his agape.

In effect, this unity bestowed by the Holy Spirit does not merely consist in the gathering of people as a collection of individuals. It is a unity constituted by the bonds of the profession of faith, the sacraments and hierarchical communion. The faithful are one because, in the Spirit, they are in communion with the Son and, in him, share in his communion with the Father: “Our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ” (1 Jn 1:3). For the Catholic Church, then, the communion of Christians is none other than the manifestation in them of the grace by which God makes them sharers in his own communion, which is his eternal life.12

The gospel of Christ is not merely or even fundamentally information. The gospel is God’s gift granting us participation in the divine community made visible on earth in the communion of believers, through our partaking of one sacramental loaf, having been incorporated into this community through “one baptism.”13 In this sense, unity is the gospel, the “heart of Christ’s mission.” This is why in His high-priestly prayer Jesus twice indicates that the conversion of the world depends on its witnessing the unity of His followers.14 One cannot be passionate about missions and apathetic concerning schisms. Evangelism is not merely from individual to individual, but from the City of God to the whole world. Man is evangelized and saved from sin not only as individual, but also in his social dimension in communion with other human persons. The community Christ has inaugurated evangelizes the world as a city set on a hill,15 and man is saved through incorporation into and communion within this divinely established community. Jesus’ words in John 17 thus reveal that when the world sees Christians divided and quarreling, not only is the Trinity obscured, the message they receive is that Christ was not from God. Pope John Paul II noted this when he wrote,

“[T]he lack of unity among Christians contradicts the Truth which Christians have the mission to spread and, consequently, it gravely damages their witness. … When non-believers meet missionaries who do not agree among themselves, even though they all appeal to Christ, will they be in a position to receive the true message? Will they not think that the Gospel is a cause of division, despite the fact that it is presented as the fundamental law of love?”16

And in 2009 Pope Benedict XVI wrote:

[W]e must have at heart the unity of all believers. Their disunity, their disagreement among themselves, calls into question the credibility of their talk of God. Hence the effort to promote a common witness by Christians to their faith – ecumenism – is part of the supreme priority.17

The Apostle John tells us that Jesus died “to gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.”18 When Christians are divided from one another, they oppose the very purpose of the Cross, the purpose for which Christ suffered and died. Sins against unity are among those for which Christ died.19 That calls us in humility to put away such sins, and pursue reconciliation in charity.

According to the International Bulletin of Missionary Research, the rate of proliferation of divisions over the last century looks like this:

1,600: Christian denominations worldwide in 1900.
18,800: In 1970.
42,000: In 2011.20

These divisions between Christians imply to the world that the Cross of Christ is powerless:

If [believers] wish truly and effectively to oppose the world’s tendency to reduce to powerlessness the Mystery of Redemption, they must profess together the same truth about the Cross.21

This is why we cannot ignore the problem of divisions between Christians; such divisions testify against the message we declare to the world, and if we accept these divisions or ignore them, we contradict ourselves as Christians. Jesus taught us that a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand.22 We know that one of Satan’s tactics is to weaken the Christian witness by tempting us to divide rather than faithfully retain unity or patiently and diligently pursue reconciliation. The former option is easier, but the latter is the way of suffering, the way of the cross. When sects are multiplied into the thousands, those person who still do not know Christ have more difficulty determining which version of the gospel is true. The proliferation of schisms eclipses the supernatural unity that is to characterize believers, and by which the world is to recognize that Christ is from God. In the eyes of the world Christianity can look like the disunity of Babel, when the Church is called to be that by which the disunity of Babel is healed.23

When widespread disunity between Christians persists chronically, what happens to a society? It becomes secularized, and eventually returns to paganism. Contentment with divisions and the inability to overcome them render the gospel powerless. The secularism of Europe today can be traced in large part to the divisions that arose in the sixteenth century and became inexorably fixed in place at the Peace of Westphalia in 1648. The peace Christ offers to the world is not primarily a subjective feeling of inner calm. It is not a natural peace achieved by natural methods, breathing exercises, meditation or signed treaties between nations or princes. The peace Christ offers is supernatural, and cannot be derive from men by merely human efforts. Christ’s peace is a share in His own communion with the Father. The vertical dimension of this peace cannot be separated from the horizontal. We cannot love Christ and hate other members of His family. Peace with Christ is not only reflected in but even effected by peace with His family on earth. For this reason, the unity of Christians directly manifests to the world the peace Christ offers. When Christians are fragmented into a multiplicity of divided communions, at best Christ’s peace is hidden and the gospel itself is obscured; at worst the gospel itself is repudiated. The Second Vatican Council observed three effects of disunity among Christians:

The restoration of unity among all Christians is one of the principal concerns of the Second Vatican Council. Christ the Lord founded one Church and one Church only. However, many Christian communions present themselves to men as the true inheritors of Jesus Christ; all indeed profess to be followers of the Lord but differ in mind and go their different ways, as if Christ Himself were divided. Such division openly contradicts the will of Christ, scandalizes the world, and damages the holy cause of preaching the Gospel to every creature.24

This is not a new observation concerning the effects of schism. At the end of the first century St. Clement of Rome wrote concerning the Corinthian schism:

Your schism has subverted [the faith of] many, has discouraged many, has given rise to doubt in many, and has caused grief to us all. And still your sedition continues. (c. 46)25

In light of the evidence recounted above, it is evident that we must not be complacent or indifferent concerning the divisions that separate Christians. But what can we do?

We can pray. As Pope John Paul II expressed, “We should therefore pray to the divine Spirit for the grace to be genuinely self-denying, humble, gentle in the service of others, and to have an attitude of brotherly generosity towards them.”26 The reconciliation of divided Christians is a supernatural work, and requires the operation of grace in our hearts. We cannot achieve this end by merely human efforts. According to the Second Vatican Council,

[H]uman powers and capacities cannot achieve this holy objective-the reconciling of all Christians in the unity of the one and only Church of Christ. It is because of this that the Council rests all its hope on the prayer of Christ for the Church, on our Father’s love for us, and on the power of the Holy Spirit.27

The ecumenical movement of the twentieth century is a cause for gratitude. At the same time, in my experience, prayer for the reunion of Protestants and Catholics does not have a prominent or consistent place in public prayers either in Protestant or Catholic communities, nor is such reunion a frequent subject of conversation among Catholics or Protestants. Silence about the Protestant-Catholic division, whether in our prayers or conversations, suggests that reconciliation is not very important to us.

We can also enter into dialogue and cooperate in corporal works of mercy. Recently when Ireland’s first abortion clinic opened, there was a sign of hope as Protestants and Catholics came together to protest.28 That kind of cooperation may be easier than dialogue, but both are important. We are all called to enter into sincere, charitable and committed dialogue oriented at reaching agreement in the truth. In an age of tweets and ‘sound-bites,’ we as a culture are becoming less capable of authentic and fruitful dialogue. To enter into dialogue, we first have to acquire certain dispositions (e.g. patience, perseverance, humility, the habit of truly listening to others with charity) and commitments (e.g. to a mutual activity of exchange, investigation and evaluation by which together we come to agreement concerning the truth), through which over longer periods of time we can come to understand each other, eventually determine the fundamental causes of our disagreements, and attain to agreement concerning the truth. A forum such as Called To Communion can help foster those dispositions, but ultimately it must be part of who we are as persons. And the internet, though a useful tool, is not an adequate substitute for face to face dialogue. The most authentic dialogues are face to face, because we are embodied beings, and our communication is not only by verbal information, but also in our bodies, our actions, even in our presence.

The responsibility for reconciliation and reunion does not belong to the clergy alone, but rests on all Christians. The Second Vatican Council declared, “Concern for restoring unity pertains to the whole Church, faithful and clergy alike. It extends to everyone, according to the ability of each.”29 And Pope John Paul II wrote, “Christ calls everyone to renew their commitment to work for full and visible communion.”30

In light of the evidence above, how could anyone who loves Christ willfully refuse to do everything in his or her power to help effect reconciliation? Pope John Paul II reflected this when he wrote:

[Believers] cannot fail to meet this challenge. Indeed, how could they refuse to do everything possible, with God’s help, to break down the walls of division and distrust, to overcome obstacles and prejudices which thwart the proclamation of the Gospel of salvation in the Cross of Jesus, the one Redeemer of man, of every individual?31

A Christian Community which believes in Christ and desires, with Gospel fervour, the salvation of mankind can hardly be closed to the promptings of the Holy Spirit, who leads all Christians towards full and visible unity. Here an imperative of charity is in question, an imperative which admits of no exception. Ecumenism is not only an internal question of the Christian Communities. It is a matter of the love which God has in Jesus Christ for all humanity; to stand in the way of this love is an offence against him and against his plan to gather all people in Christ.32

Lord, as we recall the events leading to and following the Reformation, we ask you to “increase the unity of all Christians until they reach full communion.”33 Turn our hearts in humility and love away from complacency and indifference toward our divisions, and toward reconciliation with all those who truly seek and love you. In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. Amen.

  1. Unitatis Redintegratio, 1. []
  2. See “Reformation Sunday 2011: How Would Protestants Know When to Return?” []
  3. Ut Unum Sint, 21. []
  4. St. John 13:35. []
  5. Ut Unum Sint, 18. Because of the relation of love and truth, true ecumenism is not about compromising what one believes to be true and essential. See “Truth Speaks in Love” and “Two Ecumenicisms.” []
  6. Pope Paul VI, Evangelii Nuntiandi, 77. []
  7. John 17:21. []
  8. 1 Corinthians 1:10. []
  9. 1 Corinthians 12: 24-25. []
  10. Jude 1:19. []
  11. Deuteronomy 6:4. []
  12. Ut Unum Sint, 9. []
  13. 1 Cor. 10:17; Eph. 4:5. []
  14. John 17:21, 23. []
  15. Mt. 5:14. []
  16. Ut Unum Sint, 98. []
  17. Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church. []
  18. John 11:51-52. []
  19. “All the sins of the world were gathered up in the saving sacrifice of Christ, including the sins committed against the Church’s unity.” Ut Unum Sint, 34. []
  20. Source. []
  21. Pope John Paul II’s address following the Way of the Cross on Good Friday (1 April 1994), cited in Ut Unum Sint, 1. []
  22. Mt. 12:25; Mk. 3:24; Lk. 11:17. []
  23. Pentecost, Babel, and the Ecumenical Imperative.” []
  24. Unitatis Redintegratio, 1. []
  25. Source. []
  26. Ut Unum Sint, 26. []
  27. Unitatis Redintegratio, 24. []
  28. Source. []
  29. Unitatis Redintegratio, 5. []
  30. Ut Unum Sint, 100. []
  31. Ut Unum Sint, 2. []
  32. Ut Unum Sint, 99. []
  33. Ut Unum Sint, 3. []
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  1. Amen!

  2. Just one point, I don’t think the 42,000 number is that realistic or convincing to protestants since several of the so-called denominations share the same confession, even though they may not share the same governing structure due to regional/cultural/political barriers.

    A large group of them have a “my pastor is my denomination” character which tends to change every few years or with the pastor’s whims. On the other side, many church goers change “denominations” without changing their beliefs since in many churches the preaching rarely gets into the theological differences the divide “denominations”. As a consequence many people who attend the same church may have radically different theologies. For example, how many people who attend a church that adheres to the Westminister Confession realize that the Westminister Confession teaches baptismal regeneration? Go to a bible study in one denomination on Ephesians 5-6 and you will likely get 25 different interpretations in a group of 20 people.

    So if you want to know how many denominations exist today, a truthful answer would be there are likely the same number of creeds as there were in the 1900s, but there are almost as many denominations as there are Protestants.

    This of course doesn’t change the general thrust of your argument. It actually adds support to it since modern Protestantism is so diverse and has so many voices that to a non-Christian it appears entirely incoherent and arbitrary (whatever the charismatic leader says it is) and there is no one voice that stands out as being authoritative over the others.

    I firmly believe this unathoritative incoherent arbitrariness is a key reason many are fed up and why secularism is on the rise.

  3. A most unhappy day, and one I used to celebrate. I get the impression that it’s celebration is waning amongst some Protestant groups. I hope so.

  4. Kevin (re:#3) and all,

    As recently as three years ago, I was still very much celebrating Reformation Day and attempting to “evangelize” Catholics into the same Lutheran/Reformed understanding of the Gospel that I had. However, little did I know what God had in store for me soon. I was about to undergo a serious process of being humbled in my “Biblical” assessment of “consistent Catholics” as being spiritually lost and damned. At the beginning of 2009, I could not even have begun to imagine that in 2010, God would bring me to the point of swimming back across the Tiber– a journey which I had traveled, in the opposite direction, several years before, and never to return, or so I thought! God definitely has His ways of surprising, and again, humbling us…!

    As a Catholic, I am happy to accept the Eucharist– Christ, body, blood, soul, and divinity– on my knees, because in bringing me back to the Catholic Church, God has brought me *low*, to new depths of understanding of my spiritual poverty before Him (and my dependence on Him in all ways). At the same time, He has given me more graces in the Church than even the many that I did have as a committed Protestant, in love with God and His written word, the Bible (and I still love them as a Catholic!). To be Catholic, one does not lose anything of God and the riches of the Bible and the Christian life. To become Catholic is only “gain” for a non-Catholic Christian.

    Are there serious problems in the Catholic Church? Absolutely. There are now, and there always have been, serious problems in the Church. I have no desire to underestimate them. However, having been on both sides of the Tiber (and a conscious, committed Protestant for years), and knowing what I know now, only by God’s grace (!), I don’t want to live and die anywhere *other* than in the Catholic Church.

  5. While there may be disagreements on matters of faith and theology, this does not extend necessarily to matters of morals and social justice. In rural areas and small towns, for example, the sense is not one of disunity among the different churches (including catholic in many cases, at least at the lay level), but of mutual cooperation in God’s saving mission, of sharing in the task of “casting out nets in the deep”. It seems at times that divisions within the catholic church (orthodox/traditional/liberal/etc.) far exceed differences between orthodox catholics and evangelicals, at least that is my experience. And many priests contribute to this scandal (of internal disunity).

    Also, in many cases catholic (and also mainline protestant) churches are few and far between compared to evangelical/non-denominational churches, and are less visible at the community level. They are on the scene, so to speak, to reach out, perform God’s work, and evangelize.

  6. Also, I might add a couple of points. Often in less populated areas, there is only one choice of parish for a catholic to attend, and only one Mass per week, and closed the rest of the time. Sometimes this Mass is rushed, with no music, and a truncated and irreverent sermon, and compressed into 30 minutes. And there is little to no opportunity for fellowship. Compare that to the evangelical church across the street, which meets sometimes twice on Sunday and throughout the week, where services are not rushed and are full of song, prayer, many speaking in tongues, a fiery sermon, much social interaction, a way for everyone to feel involved. And the pastors are pillars in their respective communities. Where are the priests?

  7. Joe,

    There is unity on some issues with some denominations. The trouble is it is shallow. It is not a unity centered on Christ. It is a unity centered on an agreement on a particular issue. If we talk about Jesus at any length the unity disappears. Then there are Christians on the other side of the issue as well. That is not the one hope, one Lord, one faith, one baptism that scripture talks about.

    As far as practical matters go, we need to go to the church for valid sacraments. We can get worship music and good teaching on the net outside of mass. You should work to improve you parish but many needs no longer need to be met by the local parish. If you have the Eucharist available in your area then thank God for that. Personally I went to both protestant and Catholic services for many years after my conversion. It was only after my family grew larger that I found the twice on Sunday think impractical.

  8. Great point about divisions in the church harming the church’s witness to a lost world. Being a Protestant, the one question that I have is this, if Catholicism considers unity with Protestants so important, why did the infallible council of Trent pronounce God’s curse (“anathema”) on almost every major Protestant doctrine? It’s my understanding that these anathemas cannot be taken away, disregarded to changed, for Trent’s ruling was infallible. Please help me understand, thanks!

  9. Grant (re:#8),

    Thanks for your question, brother. My power may go out at any moment, as I am in the path of Hurricane sandy, but on the question of anathemas, please see this article, and the links in the article: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/are-you-anathema-how-about-your-protestant-friend

    Also, in 2008, the Pope clarified that Luther’s understanding of justification by “faith alone” is compatible with Catholic doctrine, as long as Luther’s understanding can be taken to *mean* a faith that is formed by, and that works from, love for God and others. Please see this article on the Pope, Martin Luther, and Vatican II: http://www.catholicworldreport.com/Blog/939/the_pope_martin_luther_and_our_time.aspx

    I would write more, but I don’t want to lose what I have here before I possibly lose power! Thanks again, brother!

  10. Grant,

    Being a Protestant, the one question that I have is this, if Catholicism considers unity with Protestants so important, why did the infallible council of Trent pronounce God’s curse (“anathema”) on almost every major Protestant doctrine?

    Can you elaborate on this question? It seems like you’re positing a contradiction between desiring to be in communion with someone and condemning their allegedly false teachings, but I don’t see any contradiction.

  11. David, thanks for responding.

    What I’m trying to think through is this, if Protestants believe doctrines that are false and worthy of God’s curse, how can there be *Christian* fellowship/unity there?

  12. if Protestants believe doctrines that are false and worthy of God’s curse, how can there be *Christian* fellowship/unity there?

    Precisely Grant. That is why the church wants to achieve unity around truth. To do that they must acknowledge the truth and invite those they want to be united with to do the same. The key is to understand that God helps us. He will not let the church unite around falsehood. But He does not want a unity around indifference to truth either. Justification is too important. So what else is there? Make the truth clear. A council is the traditional way that happens in the church.

  13. Grant (re#11),

    Hello again, brother. Were you able to read the article on anathemas to which I linked in #9? This section (and other ones in the article, albeit less directly) speaks to at least some of your concerns:

    …like other excommunications, they applied to people who were (or had been) in communion with the Catholic Church. There is no point excommunicating somebody from the Catholic Church who had never been part of the Catholic Church, and so people who had never been Catholics were not anathematized, no matter what they said or did. (This comes as quite a surprise to many in the Protestant community, where it is often—unfortunately—claimed that the Catholic Church anathematizes them for their beliefs. Not so. It may disagree with some of their beliefs; it may hope and pray that they adopt the fullness of the faith as found in the Catholic Church; but it does not anathematize them.)

    Read more: http://www.ncregister.com/blog/jimmy-akin/are-you-anathema-how-about-your-protestant-friend#ixzz2Aoayc5Mq

  14. Christopher, I read Jimmy Akin’s article on anathema’s. He certainly tones down the meaning of anathema as I have understood it. I guess I have a question then on the response to the Protestant Reformation. I understand the official Catholic response to be found in Trent, how serious was Trent’s ruling on the status of Protestantism? Were there no statements/declarations that if someone holds to the Protestant position they could not be saved? The fact that Protestants were running for their lives in certain areas indicated to me that it was a pretty big deal? Thanks for helping me think through this.

  15. Grant,

    Were there no statements/declarations that if someone holds to the Protestant position they could not be saved? The fact that Protestants were running for their lives in certain areas indicated to me that it was a pretty big deal?

    I know this wasn’t the main point of your comment, and I don’t want to continue to interrupt your discussion with Christopher about how Protestants are viewed by the Catholic Church, but to be fair: violence, scare tactics, and threats were characteristic of both sides of the Reformation. If you haven’t read about what happened to Catholics in England during the Reformation, I could make a reading recommendation or two.

  16. David, agreed. All I’m trying to figure out is what was the official position of Rome toward Protestants at that time. I thought the violence might have been indicative of that, but perhaps not.

  17. Grant,

    You asked, “how serious was Trent’s ruling on the status of Protestantism?”

    To my knowledge, the Council of Trent says nothing about Protestantism as such, in part because there is no such discrete entity as “Protestantism.” The Council does define certain doctrinal positions held by many Protestants as falling outside the bounds of orthodox Christian faith. This, it seems to me, is an important distinction to make as you continue to consider these questions.

    best,
    John

  18. You know, it’s a “nice idea” for Roman Catholics and [True] Christians to be united, it’s a “nice idea” for them to be united together for the sake of peace. However, Roman Catholics and Christians can be no more unified than Christians can with Muslims, Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses. You see, it is a question of truth not peace, the truth is the truth and cannot by definition be mixed with error, otherwise it no longer remains truth, it becomes something else.

    Jesus said He did not come to bring peace to the earth but a sword. Matthew 10:34

    And since Roman Catholics and Christians have different Gospels there can be no unity, simple really, unless you want to complicate matters and blur the lines.

    [saint] dale

  19. Dear Dale,

    If you read Bryan’s article – and other articles on this website – you would know that he doesn’t disagree with anything that you say about unity and truth. The overarching point of this website, however, is that the unity that Christ wills for his Church can’t be found anywhere besides the Catholic Church. Sola Scriptura was a great idea. If I was aound in Luther’s time, I probably would have been persuaded to accept it. But after nearly 500 years it has proven itself incapable of providing the unity that Jesus himself wills.

    So yes, we have different Gospels. I believe that the difference in these Gospels is explained very well by emphasizing the distinction between extra nos imputation of Christ’s righteousness and the infusion of Christ’s righteousness into the heart of the believer. Here are two good articles that explain the difference:

    Imputation and Infusion: A Reply to R.C. Sproul Jr.
    Imputation and Paradigms: A Reply to Nicholas Batzig

  20. Bryan – thanks for the post. Is it your understanding that the historic position of the Roman Catholic Church in regards to the Protestant distinctives is one of a ‘different gospel’? If a professing Christian knowingly/willingly rejects important Catholic doctrine, e.g. justification, Mary, Pope, purgatory, sacraments, etc… – are they believing a different gospel?

  21. Grant –

    Are you asking me or Bryan Cross?

  22. you specifically.

    But if anyone else feels confident in their answer I’m interested.

  23. Grant –

    I don’t think they are as different as Dale does. I don’t agree with him when he says, “However, Roman Catholics and Christians can be no more unified than Christians can with Muslims, Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.” Catholics are more unified with non Catholic Christians than they are with Muslims, or Mormons because we share more truths. For example, we share the belief that Jesus Christ is the fullness of revelation and that without his work on the cross we cannot be saved. There are enough similarities between the Catholic understanding of the Gospel and the reformed understanding of the Gospel that we truly can have profound fellowship.

    But there are enough differences in the understanding of the Gospel that we lack visible communion with each other. The differences you list (Mary, Pope, purgatory, sacraments) aren’t just minor things. They aren’t just a set of practices and beliefs that have been thrown in on the side. (Essential vs. non-essential) These teachings and practices that might be defined as non-essential to you flow out of the Gospel, and the differences in the way we live the Christian Life ( whether or not we submit to the Pope as the universal Pastor of the Church and whether or not we express fellowship with Christians who have lived before us) illuminate differences that we have in our understanding of what God actually revealed to us through Jesus Christ.

  24. I thank Grant for having the good foresight to question you (Bryan) in the way he has, the end result is sure to bring you to a knowledge of how ludicrous the RCC teaching is, the question is Bryan, do you have ears to hear.

    I look forward to reading Grant’s responses to you.

    One thing though Bryan, you said ” I don’t agree with him when he says, “However, Roman Catholics and Christians can be no more unified than Christians can with Muslims, Mormons or Jehovah’s Witnesses.” ” in regard to my previous post.

    Let me put it this way; Jesus Christ was a sufficient sacrifice and actuated the salvation of His people on the cross according to [true] Christians, we affirm that when He cried out “It is finished” on the cross that is to be taken literally and means that there is nothing more to be added to His sacrifice.

    Roman Catholics however, believe that they go through a process of cleansing in purgatory before they can enter heaven, by stating this they are saying that the Jesus who died upon the cross did not pay the price for all of their sins, and therefore, is a different Jesus than the Biblical Jesus according to [true] Christians.

    Add to that the Catechism of the Catholic Church states that works are necessary for salvation #1129 “The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation….” & #2068 ” …so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments” and you not only have a different Jesus, but you also have a different Gospel.

    Then there is the question of the Holy Spirit who “convicts the world of sin”, according to the second commandment we should not be bowing down to statues of Mary, Peter or any other saint, dare I suggest you also have another spirit Bryan ?

    Let us look to what Scripture [God’s Word] says about that :

    2Co 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    2Co 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

    Paul was not condoning having a different Gospel/Jesus or spirit but warning God’s people to flee from those that would preach error regarding them Bryan.

    Please waken up and put your faith in the real Jesus Christ of Scripture Bryan, before it is too late my friend.

    with respect
    dale

  25. Hello Dale,

    Just to be clear, I am not the same person as Fr. Bryan. He is a Catholic priest, and I am a layman. Also, since you are new to CTC, I recommend that you first read our “comment guidelines,” because we have rules about tone and civility here. We reason together here, but we do not permit cajoling or commanding anyone to submit to our position. That tends to make rational dialogue impossible. So please take a look at that page, and then let’s see if we can make some progress understanding where and why we disagree.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  26. Great discussion, having been brought up in the Catholic church and born again in 1997, of the Spirit which our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ speaks of in the Scriptures. Father Bryan with all due respect, the Pope is not the Pastor of the Church. Scripture says our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Head of the church – that is followers of the One True God, followers of our Messiah. In my upbringing in the Catholic Church the entire counsel of God from Scripture was not taught as well as grace never being shared in a liturgy and how one must be saved. Jesus looked for a change life after being born again and this is my story. The old is gone and the new has come!

  27. Dale –

    Thanks for your concern. I’ve already considered these objections to Catholicism and believe that your objections are flawed. I can see how you might find them persuasive, but it is because you bring a set of presuppositions to your exploration of Catholicism. If you were to somehow leave behind your presuppositions and explore Catholicism on its own terms – as we understand it – then you will certainly understand why your objections aren’t persuasive. You might even find the Catholic position persuasive, as the contributors here at CtC have.

    Blessings.

  28. Bryan said ” your objections are flawed. I can see how you might find them persuasive, but it is because you bring a set of presuppositions to your exploration of Catholicism. If you were to somehow leave behind your presuppositions and explore Catholicism on its own terms. ”

    Bryan, I need to let you know more about my presuppositions, I was a Roman Catholic for 36 years of my life, went to RC school, taught by nuns and priests, did all the sacraments and went to church almost every sunday, so, I am not speaking from a position of ignorance. Then in 2004 God saved me and I was born again, regenerated, made a new creature in Christ and set free from the bondage of sin. Scripture is full of teaching about this miracle God performs at conversion and He can save anyone.

    You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free John 8:32

    To the other Bryan who said “we do not permit cajoling or commanding anyone to submit to our position.”

    I am a preacher called by the God of the universe to proclaim the Gospel to those in darkness Bryan, any objections you have to me cajoling or commanding people then please take it up with Jesus Christ who has commanded His followers to preach the Gospel.

    God commands all men everywhere to repent, because He has appointed a day in which He will judge the world..Acts 17:30-31

  29. Dale,

    For the sake of clarity, it would be helpful if you would refer to Fr. Bryan as “Fr. Bryan,” or if you are not comfortable using the term “Fr.,” perhaps you could refer to him as “Bryan O.” And you may refer to me as “Bryan C.” That way, both of us can know to whom you are referring. Thanks!

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  30. Claire –

    Father Bryan with all due respect, the Pope is not the Pastor of the Church. Scripture says our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the Head of the church – that is followers of the One True God, followers of our Messiah.

    No Catholic would deny that Jesus is the head of the Church. Your interpretation of Scripture, however, is very narrow and it ignores some important teachings from other parts of the Bible. In a nutshell, it denies that Jesus appointed pastors to continue his ministry as shepherd after he ascended into heaven. See, for example, John 21:15-17. Jesus tells Peter to look after his people three times. Jesus gave Peter a share in his ministry as Shepherd. In the Acts of the Apostles, the Apostles went out and continued Jesus ministry by preaching the word and celebrating the Sacraments. St. Paul also teaches, rather clearly, that the Church has leaders. These leaders don’t operate as authorities opposed to the resurrected Jesus, but actually participate in the ministry of Jesus to feed and unify his members with Word and Sacrament.

    The pastors of the Catholic Church have received their authority through Apostolic Succession. They are legitimate leaders. They received their authority from Bishops, who received their authority from Bishops, who received their authority from other Bishops… all the way back to the Apostles. In order to celebrate Sacraments validly and in order to make sure we locate true doctrine, our leaders today must have these valid orders.

    This is why the Pope and bishops in communion with him are the Pastors of the Church today. They are in visible communion with the leaders of Christians before them, dating all the way back to the Apostles.

  31. Dale –

    Bryan, I need to let you know more about my presuppositions, I was a Roman Catholic for 36 years of my life, went to RC school, taught by nuns and priests, did all the sacraments and went to church almost every sunday, so, I am not speaking from a position of ignorance.

    Sorry, but this isn’t as impressive as you might think. You see, I too was born Catholic. I too went to RC school. I too was taught by nuns and priests. I did all the Sacraments and went to Church every Sunday. I even served as an altar boy at my Church. And… I didn’t know much about what the Church actually taught. It wasn’t until I was in college when I came to understand what the Church taught. I was very poorly formed until this point.

    Now, perhaps you were formed better than I was. If you were, then you are going to have to demonstrate that you were by actually engaging with the content of the faith as we Catholics understand it. Simply claiming that you were an awesome Catholic for 36 years won’t persuade me, because of my own experience which is very similar to yours.

    There is so much to talk about, and I’m sure that reading the articles here and commenting on them will give you a great opportunity to share your faith and prove your knowledge of Catholicism.

  32. Bryan O,
    Are you “another Christ” ??

    Serious question I would like you to respond to please.

    With love and respect

    saint dale

  33. Dale,

    Yes. I believe that I am “another Christ,” in that I participate in His priestly ministry.

  34. Bryan O said “Yes. I believe that I am “another Christ,” in that I participate in His priestly ministry.”

    And the Word of God says :

    Mat 24:4 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Take heed that no man deceive you.
    Mat 24:5 For many shall come in my name, saying, I am Christ; and shall deceive many.

  35. Dale –

    I’m not sure how being a participant in the priestly ministry of The Christ is the same as saying, “I am Christ.” In fact, if you think about it long enough, believing one is merely a participant in someone else’s ministry is to admit that one is not that person. In other words, by believing that I am a participant in Jesus’ ministry I am implying that I am not Jesus.

    Before this discussion continues here, I’d like to point out that this thread is about Reformation Day. If you’d like to speak about specific Roman Catholic doctrines perhaps you could find an article that pertains to the topic and have the discussion there. If you peruse the Index, you will find that there have been many articles written on a wide variety of doctrines.

  36. Dale,

    The verse says that many will coming saying, “I am the Christ” in an attempt to draw people away from Jesus. This is not what Fr. Bryan said. You are twisting Fr. Bryan’s words and the words of scripture.

    The word of God says:

    [Paul’s] letters contain some things that are hard to understand, which ignorant and unstable people distort, as they do the other Scriptures, to their own destruction.

  37. @Dale et al,

    I’m a father and a philosophy grad student. I know it’s probably hard, but let’s at least try to show a little bit of philosophical sophistication and precision when conversing about theology. To wit:

    1) Fr. Bryan didn’t say “I am Christ” in #33. He said “I am ‘another Christ’ in that I participate in His priestly ministry” (emphasis mine). So while the Bible verse warns against people claiming to be Christ, Fr. Bryan said no such thing. He said, in essence, “I am like Christ in thus-and-so respect”. Fr. Bryan has drawn an analogy between himself and Christ, not a statement of identity or equivalency between himself and Christ. Big difference between saying “X is like Y” and “X is Y”.

    2) Clare (in 26) suggested the Pope’s being the head of the church is in conflict with Christ’s being the head of the church. Of course, both are heads of the church but in different ways. This ain’t that hard. Here’s an analogy to make the same point: Christ is head of my family, and I am also head of my family. So both Christ and I are heads of the Keil family – but in different ways. I’m the visible head, Christ is the invisible head. I’m the creaturely head, Christ is the creatorly head, etc. The same basic idea holds for the pope and Christ – Benedict the 16th is the head of the church and Jesus is also the head of the church. But when we say both are “heads” we mean different things with respect to Jesus (the creator) and B16 (a pretty cool dude, but a creature nonetheless).

    3) Dale (in 24) suggests that purgatory is incompatible with Christ’s work on the cross being finished. Catholics theology, he suggests, entails that “the Jesus who died upon the cross did not pay the price for all of their sins” since we still go to purgatory after our deaths. Of course, some people do not go to purgatory after they die – they go straight to heaven. But leaving this aside for a second, is it really inconceivable that we could be forgiven yet still get punished? I only have a 2 year old and a 7 month old, but my 2 year old son knows darn well that I’ll forgive any wrong he does against me. That doesn’t mean that he won’t get punished, though. Same deal with purgatory – Christ died on the cross and will forgive any sin I ask him to forgive (assuming that I’m honestly sorry). But that doesn’t get me off the hook of being punished anymore my 2 year old gets off the hook, punishment wise, after I forgive him. Forgiveness /= punishment.

    Again, none of this strikes me as terribly difficult if we keep some basic philosophical wits about ourselves. “X is like Y in way Z” isn’t the same as “X is Y”. Two different things can be leaders of the same organization if the senses in which they are leaders are different. Being forgiven doesn’t mean you magically never get punished again for anything bad you do. I’m sure there’s some (plenty!) of theological nuances here too, but at least in general terms it seems pretty simple stuff. If Catholicism is wrong, it ain’t at the level of these kinds of arguments (or that Catholics worship bread, or that Catholics worship Mary, or that Catholics worship statues, which also seem to be the most common arguments deriving from pretty basic philosophical errors.) Hope this is helpful.

    Sincerely,
    ~Benjamin

  38. Dale,

    Interesting interpretation of scripture. Does your interpretation of scripture carry any authority? The way I interpret that section of scripture is that there will be false prophets that will come in the name of Jesus. The Church has not hidden her light. She has defended the faith like Peter asked. Well, the Church is one. What is the other denominations? Are they one? Sounds like the false prophets might be coming from elsewhere. If you disagree with the Church, well we don’t exactly hide anything. You can read up the developing theology, apologia, history (warts and all), and mystical writings of her saints.

    Now who gave you the authority to interpret scripture to where it is binding? Did you ever receive the laying on of hands that can be traced back to the Apostles?

    I would recommend that you start your process at this blog with Bryan Cross’s Ecclesial Deism. Burning bosom feelings are not an objective call to a newer interpretation of scripture and scripture does not ever say that scripture is the sole rule of faith.

  39. Benjamin, that’s nice that you are a student of philosophy, I was once again reminded of what Dr. Scott Oliphint ( Professor of Westminster Theological Seminary and ex student of philosophy) said to his students, “Don’t study philosophy it is a waste of time!” . I agree.
    Anyway, let’s not complicate matters here, it’s nice of you to leap to Bryan O’s defence and attempt to blur the lines a little, but he did not say “I am [like] Christ”, he said yes “I am another Christ” and since you are a Roman Catholic priest you will know, as well as I do, that every Roman Catholic priest is ordained “another Christ” not [like Christ] let’s not complicate the issue here Benjamin, he did not say, yes I [X] am like Christ [Y] he very clearly said that he is another Christ.
    Interestingly enough the Catechism of the Catholic Church states “Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace towards us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ” #795 CCC.
    It seems to me someone at the Vatican should be choosing their words more carefully or at least check this stuff before publishing it, wouldn’t you agree Benjamin ?

    Re. your analogy with your 2 year old and purgatory does not fit well with the Biblical teaching found in verses like Romans 5:1 “Therefore since we have been justified by faith we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”
    and ; There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus Romans 8:1
    You see, you can be justified by faith in Christ, you can have peace with God through the finished work of Jesus Christ on the cross. Having peace with God does cannot mean that we will go through a period of punishment after death, that is why the Gospel is good news, that is why Paul could say with confidence, “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”

    I know that I am saved, not by any work, but by His precious blood, I know that I will spend eternity with God, not because of anything I have done but by His grace through faith.

    The Gospel of the RCC is not good news, your Gospel does not save anyone, it only makes salvation possible for those who work hard enough, that is not good news Benjamin.

    Think about it!

    I hope this has been of some help.

    saint dale

  40. There is a subtlety to the Catholic definition of salvation. Yes you are saved by his grace through faith and not by anything you have done to attain that grace, this would include good works. God calls us by his grace and we accept that call with our free will. After this, if we are baptized, we confess our sins to a priest who absolves us of our sin. This puts you in a state of Sanctifying Grace which transforms the sinner into a holy child of God. How do you and others know that anything has actually happened to you? Well this grace working on your soul really changes you. You will now do Good Works prompted by the fruits of the holy spirit. As St. James said faith without works is dead. I can see in myself since I turned back to Christ and confessed my sins that this really does happen to you. The change in me is incredible and could never have happened except by the holy spirit. There is now joy in my heart instead of despair and charity instead of selfishness. The small works that I do now are proof of the faith that God has given me. Praise him. So the teachings of the RCC are good news indeed.

  41. Hi Drew (re:#38),

    Reconciliation and peace among professing Christians begins with saying, ” In the name of Christ”. Full power, love and authority are in that Name ! Anyone professing to be under that Name will try to express their subjection in word and deed. Those who sincerely seek the God of Truth (they are known to Him) have authority to interpret scriptures warning them of deception. It is the right and duty of Sonship to abide in the truth. Even the Eternal Father of the Lord Jesus speaks authoritatively because He is Truth. What was the nature of Christ’s warning ? Many would publicly apply the Name to themselves in His Name ! Sayings like “another Christ” and “I am Christ” are similar and require a spirit of discernment.

    For the moment, I will grant the qualification of participating in the priestly ministry. If Christ desired His High-Priestly prayer to be repeated through time, then we should participate by adding it to our sacrifices of praise. A word of confession is an act of faith. However, my momentary grant expires when the priestly ministry begins segregating confessors into those who apply the priestly (redemptive) work of Christ and those who do not. When a Roman Catholic priest says “I am”, it is intended to identify themselves with the Name in His Name. Downplaying this would be disingenuous and the onus is on those who publicize these words in a mediatorial way. Here is a trustworthy saying: The first in the order of deceivers is usually the deceived.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  42. Grant (re#16),

    From the research I have done, the *policies* of Catholic *countries* (not that there were necessarily always *monolithic* policies, but generally speaking) toward Protestants, at the time of the Reformation, were often indeed much more harsh than what one would find today– though I have heard reports, even to the present day, of Protestants being treated roughly in parts of Mexico and certain other countries (in which Catholicism is more dominant than Protestantism). As David Pell mentioned above though, the rough treatment has been reciprocal between both Catholics and Protestants at different points in history. Well into the 20th century, Catholics continued to be treated very harshly in many parts of America, especially in the deep South. The mistreatment, on both sides, is extremely lamentable and contrary to the spirit of Christ.

    As distinct from Protestantism, which is fairly fragmented within itself (to the degree that there really is no one identifiable “Protestant Catechism” for all Protestants, as there is one Catechism for Catholics), Catholicism, as an ecclesiastical and theological reality, is more able to actually *have* an “official view” of Protestants and Protestantism.

    As to the Church’s *official view* of Protestantism and Protestants at the time of the Reformation, and later, at the Council of Trent, that view was defined much more in terms of difference and opposition than the Church’s statements about the Protestantism and Protestants of today. However, this does does mean that the Church has changed her official teaching.

    The more openly polemical *earlier*, Reformation-era statements of the Church on Protestantism need to be read in the context of the fact that the Reformation was both a theological and societal *revolution* from what had been previously. In the Catholic understanding, the Reformation *split the Church* which had been unified, and, given that Church and nation(s) were often closely intertwined (although *not* synonymous) at that time, the Reformation, to a large extent, also split apart nations, societies, and commonly understand and accepted ways of thinking and living that had stood for *many centuries*. Obviously, the degree to which this cataclysm was/is a good thing or a bad thing will be seen differently by Catholics and Protestants.

    To the Catholic Church, especially in the Reformation and Counter-Reformation eras, the Reformation was viewed in a quite negative light (from what I have been able to ascertain). The general thinking of the time seemed to be that Catholics who became Protestants did so knowing and understanding, full well, and once having *knowledgeably embraced*, their Catholic faith. With the benefit of hindsight, the Church sees today that the situation was not necessarily always so clear-cut for individual Protestants. Schism is always a serious sin– and yes, the Catholic Church does still understand the Reformation and Protestantism to be schismatic movements. However, there is the important issue of varying degrees of *individual culpability* for schism– an issue which, with increasing understanding and reflection, has become more obvious to the Church, and thus, more openly developed in its thinking, in the 19th, 20th, and 21st centuries.

    The official position of the Catholic Church, in her Catechism, in regard to Protestants and all other non-Catholics, is thus (and, in the interest of charity and a productive discussion, I ask you, respectfully, to please read all of it, carefully, before jumping to any certain conclusions):

    “Outside the Church there is no salvation”

    846 How are we to understand this affirmation, often repeated by the Church Fathers?335 Re-formulated positively, it means that all salvation comes from Christ the Head through the Church which is his Body:

    Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.336

    (Source: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM)

    How many people refuse to enter into, or remain in, the Catholic Church, *while knowing* the Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ? God knows. I certainly don’t. For those people though, the Church teaches that unless they repent of their schism, they cannot be saved.

    For those people who have questions about the claims of the Catholic Church about herself and her teachings in Scripture and Tradition, the very seriousness *of those claims* would imply that said people should devote serious time and energy, to the extent that they are able, to answering those questions. If one is truly, invincibly ignorant, concerning the claims of the Church and the evidence for them, then one is much less culpable for rejecting the Church.

    In much of the world today though, the evidence for the claims of the Catholic Church is readily available. Many factors may contribute to a person not seeking out, and not seriously examining, that evidence. Again, God knows hearts, and I don’t. If one has access to the internet though, including multiple translations of Scripture, and the Catechism of the Catholic Church, and many faithful Catholic websites though, including this one, with its many, many thoughtful articles and arguments, it is more difficult for one to claim to be in a position of invincible ignorance about the Catholic Church– certainly more difficult, say, than for certain earlier generations of Protestants who, due to geography alone, may have had little to no contact with Catholicism and Catholics at all.

    One last thought for this comment– you might find this short article to be interesting, in terms of an early Catholic view of non-Catholic Christians. It shows that that even in the earlier years, the Church’s approach was not always *only* polemical: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2010/07/st-augustine-on-non-catholic-christians-as-brothers/

  43. P.S. Grant,

    I typed the above reply (#4o) to you very early in the morning. There were a few typos, but I hope that I conveyed that the Church has *not* changed her *official teaching* on Protestantism. Within the Church, over the centuries since the Reformation, there has been a development in understanding, in terms of degrees of *individual culpability*, from one person to another, for leaving or remaining outside of the Catholic Church, but the official teaching of the Church on Protestantism, itself, has not changed.

  44. “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord”

    I agree.

    Hebrews 12:29: “Our God is an all consuming fire.” Thus, purgatory is entirely compatible with St. Paul’s words, especially since he also said:

    “For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. Now if any man build upon this foundation gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, stubble; Every man’s work shall be made manifest: for the day shall declare it, because it shall be revealed by fire; and the fire shall try every man’s work of what sort it is. If any man’s work abide which he hath built thereupon, he shall receive a reward. If any man’s work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss: but he himself shall be saved; yet so as by fire.” -1 Corinthians 3:11-15

  45. Brent, what you have just done is read into the text what you want to get out of it, that is called eisegesis , as opposed to exegesis which is the correct way to interpret Scripture, to get from the text what the author intended, to get out of Scripture what us actually there.

    There is no evidence of purgatory anywhere in Scripture, none.

    If you read 1Cor 3:11-15 again you will see that it is the WORKS that are to be burned by fire not the individual, so he will suffer the loss of his works if they are done with wrong motive but he shall be saved, to claim that Paul was speaking about purgatory here is more than a stretch my friend.

    To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord ….instantly….remember the thief on the cross who repented of his sin and put his faith in Jesus Christ his last dying minutes ?…Jesus told him he would be with Him instantly…no delay in purgatory.

    Please think Biblically folks your eternity rests upon it!

  46. Dale –

    Anyway, let’s not complicate matters here, it’s nice of you to leap to Bryan O’s defence and attempt to blur the lines a little, but he did not say “I am [like] Christ”, he said yes “I am another Christ” and since you are a Roman Catholic priest you will know, as well as I do, that every Roman Catholic priest is ordained “another Christ” not [like Christ] let’s not complicate the issue here Benjamin, he did not say, yes I [X] am like Christ [Y] he very clearly said that he is another Christ.

    The point is that you don’t get to define what Catholics believe. We get to define what we believe is Catholics, which means that any qualifying phrase after my statement matters.

    Interestingly enough the Catechism of the Catholic Church states “Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace towards us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ” #795 CCC.
    It seems to me someone at the Vatican should be choosing their words more carefully or at least check this stuff before publishing it, wouldn’t you agree Benjamin ?

    You’ll notice that that is a quote from paragraph 795 is from Augustine. Do you really think Augustine meant for that phrase to be interpreted the way you are interpreting it?

    he Gospel of the RCC is not good news, your Gospel does not save anyone, it only makes salvation possible for those who work hard enough, that is not good news Benjamin.

    You haven’t demonstrated that you even know the Catholic Gospel, Dale, and until you do you shouldn’t judge whether or not it is good news. Read the articles I linked above concerning Imputation and Infusion. If you understand the distinction you will see that the Catholic understanding of the Gospel is good news because it goes beyond the Gospel of the reformers.

  47. Dale –

    Furthermore, regarding your quote from paragraph 795, you didn’t even use the whole quote. Here is the quote in full:

    Let us rejoice then and give thanks that we have become not only Christians, but Christ himself. Do you understand and grasp, brethren, God’s grace toward us? Marvel and rejoice: we have become Christ. For if he is the head, we are the members; he and we together are the whole man.… The fullness of Christ then is the head and the members. But what does “head and members” mean? Christ and the Church.

  48. When I consider the Reformation , I see many damaging results. I am not saying that there were no good aspects that occurred from it, since God can take things meant for harm and use them for good.
    Having been a Protestant for 59 years I have seen the dividing influence that stems ultimately from the Reformation’s spirit (in my opinion). When I came to know Christ personally I was a member of a Conservative Baptist church. This church has split. Then I became a member of a Reformed Baptist church which also ended up having divisions over how to do missionary work causing a split. Next I was in a reformed Baptist church which basically went on a radical view of the OT and the law thus dividing it from some other RB churches. Next I was a member of a Reformed Presbyterian church which decided to split from that to become PCA. Then I was in a PCA church which split and one half became OPC. Last of all I was a member of an Episcopal church which has now left TEC. (I moved a lot and was seeking to be in a local reformed church—this partly explains why I was a member of so many different kinds)
    When I look back on all of this I see constant division. Christ’s prayer for unity has fallen on deaf ears in the Protestant movement.
    Secondly, I think a weakness in the Protestant movement, aside from the many divisions, is that the emphasis on faith alone almost is an inference that following Christ is not important. It tends to infer that we can have Christ as Savior and not as Lord. But a Christian has to be a believer in Christ who is Lord and Savior—a follower of Christ. Therefore obedience, or seeking to obey through grace and the power of the Spirit, is not optional for salvation. Here I think the Catholics strike the correct balance. Jesus says in Luke 6:46ff that there are those that call Him Lord” and do not do what I say” and he teaches these are those who have “built a house upon the ground without any foundation…..and the river burst against it and immediately it collapsed, and the ruin of that house was great.” You have the example of the parable with the two sons. Which one was the son who obeyed? Not the one that said he would do, but the one that actually did the thing asked of him. Jesus throughout the gospels explains the importance of obedience in our walk. The problem with the Pharisees, was partly that they spoke the talk but did not do . Paul, James , and Peter all speak to this. I feel the Protestants sometimes do disservice to the gospel when they neglect what Christ has said—to go into the world and make disciples….baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I commanded you. “ Observance of Christ’s commands is not optional.
    Why is the Catholic’s gospel good news? There are many reasons but one in particular I will give. When we were born we were separated from God and under wrath. But the good news of the gospel is that Christ has lived, died, resurrected, and intercedes so that we can have a relationship restored. We have our hearts cleansed, we have new hearts wherein the law of God is written, and we are given grace to continue to live in relationship with God almighty and to grow in this and to be as II Peter states in chapter one verse 4 “partakers of the divine nature”. The good news is spiritual life and a restored relationship to our God. When we sin forgiveness is available as we confess and repent and our relationship continues to be maintained. It is a living relationship—true—real—-ongoing.

  49. Bryan O, no true Christian would even dare to suggest or even hint at the idea that they are “another Christ” the very idea is blasphemous, no matter how you you qualify it afterwards.

    For the RCC to make that quote, regardless who made it is to say the least foolish and at worst wicked.
    You will notice another ludicrous claim the CCC makes #460 “For the Son of God became man so that we might become God. The only-begotten Son of God, wanting to make us sharers in his divinity, assumed our nature, so that he, made man, might make men gods.”

    Bare in mind this is from the book that claims to be a complete summary of what catholics throughout the world believe in common.And pope John Paul 2nd calls a “special gift”.
    Are you God Bryan O ????

    This same book claims that:

    * Muslims worship the same God as catholics and are saved.

    * Indulgences pay for sin.

    * Salvation comes through sacraments.

    And worst of all ;

    * Mary is another Mediator.

    All this is meaningless to you I understand if you are not lovers of truth, all this will fall upon deaf ears if your allegiance is to the Vatican and not to Christ.

    I am praying for you that God will grant you repentance and faith in the Jesus Christ of Scripture and set you free from slavery to the RCC.

    With love and respect

    saint dale

  50. Dale,

    You wrote:

    Bryan O, no true Christian would even dare to suggest or even hint at the idea that they are “another Christ” the very idea is blasphemous, no matter how you you qualify it afterwards.

    That statement is a good example of the No True Scotsman Fallacy.

    ad maiorem Dei gloriam,
    Paul

  51. Hi Dale,

    re: 49…

    Perhaps a bit more digging on your part might help? The quote you cited about men becoming God is a well-known quote from Athanasius who lived well before the Reformation. What does the verse in Peter’s epistle stating that we are “partakers of the divine nature” mean? Are you aware of the theological concept of theosis and its roots in Christian tradition and the Scriptures? Perhaps it is more of a stumbling block to consider the implications of why Paul calls the union of Christ and the Church a “great mystery” in Eph 5, upon which a Catholic has 2000 years of reflection, compared to the relatively few years of your life? Perhaps the many things within the Catholic tradition you struggle with are due to a deeper understanding of the ongoing implications of the Incarnation and God’s presence in the world through the agency of the Church? Perhaps such things are meat and your understanding is merely the milk (cf 1 Cor 3:2)?

    You are welcome to continue in your non-binding personal interpretation of the Scriptures which God gave to the world through the agency of the Church. You have offered no reason for a Catholic to accept such an understanding as more authoritative than one with lineage back to apostolic times.

    Perhaps a more conciliatory attitude would be more in line with 1 Cor 13:1?

    In Him,
    Bill

  52. Dale,

    To be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord ….instantly….remember the thief on the cross who repented of his sin and put his faith in Jesus Christ his last dying minutes ?…Jesus told him he would be with Him instantly…no delay in purgatory.

    Let me remind you, that to interpret that passage literally would put into question Jesus’s known whereabouts the next three days. Of course, you could say that heaven is outside of time, and therefore “today” is not the same as the next three literal days. But, that would be to concede too much, for in proving that “today” need not be literal, you have proven that purgatory is completely compatible with being with Jesus “today” — which I affirm. Further, the doctrine of purgatory is completely compatible with the notion of being with Jesus “today” — since purgatory is the experience of his perfect, good, loving and holy justice.

  53. Dale –

    Who are you to decide who is saved and who isn’t? Who are you to determine what is blasphemous and what is orthodox doctrine?

    As has been pointed out, your quote in 460 doesn’t mean what you want it to mean. The reason you might not understand what it means is because you don’t have well developed understanding of the doctrines of the early Church, in particular, the doctrine of Theosis. If you understood this doctrine then the problems you have with Catholic teaching and practice would diminish.

    This doctrine comes right out of the Bible. It is not just the way we interpret 2Peter today, but it is the way the Church has always understood 2Peter. I’m curious as to how you interpret 2 Peter 1:4, which reads: “Through these, he has bestowed on us the precious and very great promises, so that through them you may come to share in the divine nature, after escaping from the corruption that is in the world because of evil desire.”

  54. Leaving aside the theory of purgatory for a moment as you all seem sold on the idea.

    Here is one difference I like to show roman catholics, between Biblical Christianity and roman catholicism :

    After speaking to many roman catholics I see they have no concept of regeneration, to be born again is simply being sprinkled with water, no supernatural change of life, no intervention on God’s behalf making new creatures in Christ giving them new hearts with new desires by the supernatural power of the Holy Spirit, they simply decided of their own free will to become a roman catholic.

    Now, on the other hand Christians can testify to a change of life, a changed nature, we can affirm what the Bible says when it says; “If any man is in Christ he is a new creature, the old has gone behold all things become new”
    Roman catholicism has no concept in it’s history of regeneration, becoming a catholic is no different than anyone becoming a mormon or a muslim, it is no different than choosing which colour socks to wear in the morning.

    Jesus said “You must be born again” and in the rest of Ch 3 of the Gospel of John He explains that this is spiritual birth, as the first Ch of John states;
    John 1:12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God,
    John 1:13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

    Have you been “born of God” ?? or did you simply follow the pope and Mary because you were told to ??

    There is truth to be had and known for certain, contrary to what you are taught you can know you have eternal life;
    1John 5:13 I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God that you may know that you have eternal life.

    Do you know you have eternal life ?? or are you simply hoping to spend a short while in purgatory before entering heaven ??

    My friends this is too important to ignore. Your eternity is your greatest concern and I love you too much not to warn you. Please consider the Word of God and stop trusting in sinful men who cannot forgive your sins nor can they mediate between you and God.

    Repent and believe the Gospel

    With concern,
    saint dale

  55. Dale –

    You conveniently left out a portion of the verse from John 3. Yes Jesus taught that, “You must be born again,” but that wasn’t all he taught. In John 3:5 He said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” Peter continues to talk about the importance of baptism. He says in 1 Peter 3:21, “[The waters of the flood] prefigured baptism, which saves you now.

    So while it is true that some Catholics you know may sadly be unaware of regeneration, it isn’t true that the Catholic Church doesn’t have a theology of Regeneration. In fact, what the Catholic Church teaches today is the same thing that it taught in the earliest days of the Church. You can learn more about this by reading this article from Bryan Cross titled, “The Church Fathers on Baptismal Regeneration.”

  56. re:54
    You seem to have preconceived ideas about Roman Catholicism that you want to point out to us to show how our religion is wrong. They are the same tried and found false ideas all evangelicals trot out to remonstrate us how wrong we are. As to your assertion that Catholics you talk to don’t know this or that, I’ll just point out that not all people who belong to any religion have all the theology down pat. It’s an ongoing experience as we learn the faith with gods direction. Anything else you want to know I’ll re-direct you to Catholic Answers where they have all these apologetic questions with scriptural evidence of the catholic position. Also your position in 54 has already been answered. Theosis is the ongoing work of the holy spirit in us and every time we go to confession is being born again as we have restored our relationship with God.

  57. Dale (54),

    Concerning your statement from I John 5:13:

    You quote I John 5:13–These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, in order that you may know that you have eternal life.”

    What are the things he has written or some of these tests to show if we are in relationship to the Son of God? Here are a few:

    I John 1:8 If we say that we have no sin , we are deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us.

    1 John 2: 3 And by this we know that we have come to know Him, if we keep His commandments. 4 The one who says, I have come to know Him, and does not keep His commandments , is a liar, and the truth is not in him; 5 but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected. By this we know that we are in Him; 6 the one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”

    2:9 The one who says he is in the light and yet hates his brother is in the darkness until now.

    2:15 Do not love the world nor the things in the world. If any one loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.

    2:22 Who is the liar but the one who denies that Jesus is the Christ? …..23 Whoever denies the Son does not have the Father; the one who confesses the Son has the Father also.

    2:29 If you know that He is righteous, you know that every one also who practices righteousness is born of Him.

    3:9-10 No one who is born of God practices sin, because His seed abides in him: and he cannot sin, because he is born of God. 10 .By this the children of God and the children of the devil are obvious: any one who does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor the one who does not love his brother.

    3:15 Every one who hates his brother is a murderer; and you know that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him.

    3:17 But whoever has the world’s goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him?

    3:18 Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth. 19 We shall know by this that we are of the truth, and shall assure our heart before Him….

    3:22 and whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do the things that are pleasing in His sight. 23 And this is His commandment, that we believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as He commanded us. 24 And the one who keeps His commandments abides in Him, and He in him. And we know by this that He abides in us, by the Spirit which He has given us.

    Well, I will stop here. But clearly John shows on what our assurance is based. Our assurance is not based on a mere profession or an easy believism —our assurance comes from the things mentioned above—-this is why John wrote the letter. Read the rest of the letter and the list continues. Catholics hold to this. One as assurance not just on the fact that belief occurred in the past. One has assurance right now if I am presently believing the things John states and living the life John states. If one is living in a life of practicing sin, not loving, not repenting etc , then will can not have assurance according to what John says here.

    Thanks, Dale. Kim


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  58. Eric,

    Before we get too far it is necessary for you to know the development of the mass, and what we mean that the priest acts as “another Christ.” You are correct that we laity can be another Christ, but it is different in form and in liturgical activity. Mother Theresa even said that she tried to see the Christ in those people she served. Yet, this is not the same thing as the Priest praying over the gifts in the mystery.

    Pax Christi

  59. Kim, that is an important point you touched upon there.

    You are correct 1John is exhorting us to check our faith is genuine based upon the principals included, however, we should not read those and think to ourselves,
    “right, this is what I must do to be saved(to get to heaven).”
    That would be falling into the lie that there is something that we can DO to earn our salvation, and the Word of God is very clear that we cannot;

    Galatians 2:16 yet we know that a person is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ, so we also have believed in Christ Jesus, in order to be justified by faith in Christ and not by works of the law, because by works of the law no one will be justified.

    1 John is a check list if you like, for those who are obeying Peter’s command here :

    2Peter 1:10 Therefore, brothers, be all the more diligent to make your calling and election sure, for if you practice these qualities you will never fall.

    You see, a true Christian will obey God out of love for Him, a true Christian will have the Holy Spirit enabling him to fulfill what God has called him/her to do, they will not be trying to make a deal with God.

    Are you trying to make a deal with God ? Check yourself Kim.

  60. Bryan O said :

    ” You conveniently left out a portion of the verse from John 3. Yes Jesus taught that, “You must be born again,” but that wasn’t all he taught. In John 3:5 He said, “Amen, amen, I say to you, no one can enter the kingdom of God without being born of water and Spirit.” Peter continues to talk about the importance of baptism. He says in 1 Peter 3:21, “[The waters of the flood] prefigured baptism, which saves you now. ”

    Bryan, I did not “conveniently” leave that verse out, if you read again what I said you will see that I quoted one verse from Chapter 3 of John, namely v. 3. And then instructed you that the rest of Ch 3 explains what being born again means.

    Because of your presupposition, namely, “being born again = water baptism.” You instantly assumed that I had ignored that verse for some sinister motive, when in actual fact it was you that was being dishonest and ignoring the context of Ch 3 to support your erroneous doctrine.

    Now, let’s say for the point of this discussion that Jesus was saying that;
    “Unless anyone gets baptised with water he/she does not get to heaven.”

    Let us say, that being born again means water baptism, and when Jesus said “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.” He actually meant it.

    How did the thief on the cross get to heaven ??..How do the many people who die on their death beds un-baptised get to heaven ??…***NB*** I would like a Biblical answer please, no nonsense about a priest giving last rights.

  61. Bob said :

    “You seem to have preconceived ideas about Roman Catholicism that you want to point out to us to show how our religion is wrong. They are the same tried and found false ideas all evangelicals trot out to remonstrate us how wrong we are.”

    Bob, that is because these issues have never been resolved, you cannot find in the Word of God evidence for ;

    *Purgatory.

    * Ascension of Mary, and also being another mediator.

    * Salvation by sacraments.

    *The mass being another sacrifice of Jesus Christ.

    * The pope being head of the church,infallable, and vicar of Christ.

    *Nuns and Monks.

    To name just a few.

    saint dale

  62. Dale –

    This discussion has been had many, many times over right here on this website. I haven’t seen anything new in your arguments. Please read the articles that I have suggested and the comments. There is no reason for us to begin this discussion again. Out of respect for the work here on this website – not just Catholics, but all the protestants who have come here before you raising the same objections – please read the articles that discuss your objections.

  63. Dale,
    Please see this website (http://www.scripturecatholic.com/) regarding your comments in #61. God Bless.
    In Him,
    Matt

  64. Dale (59),

    I agree with what Fr. Bryan has said in comment 62. Much of what you are talking about has been fully explained in other discussions on this website. I will respond to your comment 59.

    You said:

    You see, a true Christian will obey God out of love for Him, a true Christian will have the Holy Spirit enabling him to fulfill what God has called him/her to do, they will not be trying to make a deal with God.


    Yes, Dale, God has put a covenant in place with us—not sure if you feel that is a “deal” (I don’t mean to be sarcastic here–sometimes printing things comes off that way!!)..Catholics state that it is faith working through love (Gal5:6)—so our obedience is from faith coming from grace working through love.. Perhaps, where we differ is whether salvation encompasses sanctification. Following from this then, is the question of whether sanctification is a necessary part of salvation and thirdly do we participate in our sanctification [do we participate with grace] or are we robots that God works upon without our participation. No, I am sure you believe we are not robots—we do participate with grace. Does God’s salvation include some kind of participation of man? I think it depends on what we mean by participation. We mean participation with his grace in our lives and with his Spirit.

    Romans says in chapter

    8:1 There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.3 For what the Law could not do, weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh”

    But he does not end it there. He does not just leave us in a status of ” not condemned”. He goes on ,

    4. in order that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.” [He explains in] 12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation , not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh–13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. ”

    Again notice the “you”—it is of grace and we can’t do it apart from grace, but we do have to do something. We are talking about primary and secondary causes. We are talking about an interactive relationship with the living God. Here is how the Catholic Catechism states some of this :

    1996 Our justification comes from the grace of God. Grace is favor, the free and undeserved help that God gives us to respond to his call to become children of God, adoptive sons, partakers of the divine nature and of eternal life.46

    1997 Grace is a participation in the life of God. It introduces us into the intimacy of Trinitarian life: by Baptism the Christian participates in the grace of Christ, the Head of his Body. As an “adopted son” he can henceforth call God “Father,” in union with the only Son. He receives the life of the Spirit who breathes charity into him and who forms the Church.

    1998 This vocation to eternal life is supernatural. It depends entirely on God’s gratuitous initiative, for he alone can reveal and give himself. It surpasses the power of human intellect and will, as that of every other creature.47

    1999 The grace of Christ is the gratuitous gift that God makes to us of his own life, infused by the Holy Spirit into our soul to heal it of sin and to sanctify it. It is the sanctifying or deifying grace received in Baptism. It is in us the source of the work of sanctification:

    Therefore if any one is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has passed away, behold, the new has come. All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself.

    2000 Sanctifying grace is an habitual gift, a stable and supernatural disposition that perfects the soul itself to enable it to live with God, to act by his love. Habitual grace, the permanent disposition to live and act in keeping with God’s call, is distinguished from actual graces which refer to God’s interventions, whether at the beginning of conversion or in the course of the work of sanctification.

    Thanks again, Dale, I know there are a number of people responding to your talking points and you may not have time to answer everyone! KIM

    ps. a link on this subject is here: http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2009/03/sola-gratia/

  65. It’s very disappointing when I ask simple questions you cannot respond simply. Instead you direct me to previous discussions on these simple questions.

    I will not be visiting any of these links, I do not have the time. If you know what they contain and they apparently answer the simple questions I am asking , then, why don’t you respond with a simple answer ??

    Please consider Biblical Christianity and the truth of it, there is only One Mediator between us and God, Jesus Christ.

    All who call upon the name of the Lord, shall be saved. Not by works, by grace through faith so that you and I cannot boast.

    Simple really, no need for hierarchy, God is no respector of persons, He will save the uneducated and save them to the uttermost by Jesus Christ’s precious blood, because without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness of sins.

    Repent and believe the Gospel.

    saint dale

  66. Dale,

    Catholics believe in Jesus as their one mediator, but he also gave his Apostles the grace to forgive sins. God shares his graces and powers through his creation. That is why he allows us the chance to evangelize, to practice love and have faith. Him being our mediator does not take away the call of the Church to be an earthly representative of his body which is also scriptural.

    One glaring presupposition that you are showing from your last passage is this belief that our “works” are separated from our faith. That is a pretty loaded assumption that you believe our theological frame does not include grace. We also believe that God’s grace works through us giving us the love to participate with other human beings on Earth. That might be somewhat of a strawman that you are throwing around there.

    You don’t have to read the other boards if you do not want. But the writers of this blog created it to do more than lob Catholic grenades at people. Each write-up focuses specifically on a concept of salvation history, soteriology, and ecclesiology. They want to communicate with other protestants, but in a timely fashion and without proof-texting on scriptures that might be posted out of context. If you do not have the time to bother with that type of communication then I pray that you find whatever you are looking for, but it does not one any favors when you are not looking at each issue specifically and in a timely manner. It would do you no good (and I admit that did this in an earlier passage) if all I did was list every issue that I see wrong with protestantism and in an ugly manner. I would miss the positive effects of how you guys give the Bible a honor. Yet, Catholics are Bible bound Christians, but it is Part of our faith system. The Church was alive before the Apostles wrote to other parishes in the world. The fact is that we still have apostles that write to parishes now, but they are Bishops correcting their parishes. The Church did not die with the death of John, but grew and never hid. It was a light to the world. It is salt that does not lose its saltiness. It started with faith like the mustard seed and grew. I hope that you receive this write up well, but I do not see how the Church contradicts anything Biblical. I only see that the Church does not follow your own interpretations of scripture. Please come home, Dale.

    Drew

  67. I have come to enjoy the high level of discussion on this blog and especially the respectful nature of the dialog.

    It’s not that you aren’t important Dale, it’s just that you are engaging in the kind of scorched earth apologetics that can be found on yahoo or countless other “let the fur fly” forums.

    This blog is hosted by those who are well studied in scripture, used to think Catholicism was either like a bad cartoon or inspired by the evil one or both. None of these bible Christians, former pastors or theologians had any sympathy for Rome and often only studied it to save others from making a “fatal mistake”. I can guarantee you that they have been through all of your objections and found them to be based on ignorance, misunderstanding and plain old calumny passed down for generations.

    If you were a Catholic for 30+ years, it is very obvious that you never seriously studied nor understood the faith, nor involved in the life of the church. You were apparently more open to the coaching that you got from outside the church than taking it upon yourself to learn your faith. It is obvious that you don’t know what the church teaches about justification, faith and works, etc. Apparently, you don’t have time, so I guess your purpose here is to just preach and vent.
    I can fault you no more than myself as I was in the evangelical wilderness for many years, never having had a solid grasp of the Catholic faith. All I know was that I loved Jesus and that didn’t really change, even though I do appreciate much of what I picked up in Evangelicalism.

    I know lots of places where people will be patient and answer all of your objections. Places like Spero Forum have people that will be happy to engage your objections and you won’t be threatened with banishment.
    Forums like Catholic Answers generally won’t put up with consistently uncharitable posters.

  68. Drew (re:#58),

    I will not portray the priestly sacrifice of the roman church as an act of arrogance or wicked uprising. No, the priests intend to be humble, lowly, and ready as instruments in the hand of God. The sacrifice of the mass is offered, in humble adoration, to the God of heaven and earth. Moreover, it is taught as an institution of the Lord Jesus for a perpetual visible sacrifice. If a visible sacrifice is in the visible church, then a visible priesthood must be present for offering. Clearly, all of this is also common to men in natural religion. Men pay homage to God with soul and body. Did not Christ offer a most holy and pure visible sacrifice to the Father of lights ? Should we not return the greatest gift given by the Father ? How can it be returned if it is not visible to us ? Such sentiments permeate the roman catholic spirit.

    I think there is a connection between R.Catholics and Jews regarding visibility and reconciliation. Circumcision marked out the Jewish people as a visible society in covenant with God. When the Apostles began to preach the reconciliation of Jew and Gentile, it became obvious to many that this included the end of the visible mark. A kind of “cutting off” from those who endured the “cutting of the flesh”. In a sense, they lost a unique visible witness among the other visible religious societies. The carnal Jew must not be in the spiritual household.

    Related to the visible, but not as intimate as circumcision, is the offering of visible sacrifices to God. Multiple and repetitious visible sacrifices, either bloody or unbloody, were offered by Jews and other religious societies. From my perspective, reconciliation among professing Christians touches this very issue. In order to foster reconciliation, the Christian must recognize only one visible sacrifice offered for the Christian society. That Priest and victim rules His society from the right hand of the Father. The R. Catholic must “cut off ” this desire to be like the Jews and other societies, even reaching the visible priesthood and “other Christ’s”.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  69. Dale –

    Sorry you’re disappointed and frustrated. Frustration and disappointment is often part of ecumenical dialogue – or rather, any dialogue in which people try to reconcile strong opinions and values and attain unity. This discussion can be frustrating for us Catholics as well. One thing that frustrates me in dialogue with other Christians is that everything I say with regards to the Bible is received with a great amount of suspicion and with Assumptions that I don’t have a relationship with Jesus.

    The Catholics here – especially the contributors of this site – put in an awful lot of time learning our faith and explaining our faith with as much clarity as minds are capable of, so when people dismiss our arguments or aren’t willing to engage with the effort we have put out to pursue reconciliation it is, needless to say, frustrating. If you don’t want to read the hard work put forth in the links I provided then that is fine, but if you don’t have the time to listen to us then why take the time to talk to us?

  70. Dale,

    “ …to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord?”

    Said no Bible verse, ever.

    Read more closely, mate. :)

    Chris

  71. Hi Dale,

    re: #60 and 61

    In #28 you informed us of your long history within the Catholic tradition and that this history provided a basis from which you accurately demonstrate its erroneous beliefs. If that is the case, surely you know the answer about the thief on the cross? Surely you know the biblical evidence for purgatory, the role of Mary in the economy of salvation, the Eucharist as a re-presentation of the one-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross, God’s free choice to use created means (sacraments) to convey grace, the nature, purpose and efficacy of baptism, the structure of the church and the role of Peter’s successor therein?

    Perhaps a moment of reflection would be helpful. In several places, as I see it, you assert that there is either no biblical evidence for a Catholic belief, or that the biblical texts contradict a belief. You exhort Catholics to “consider biblical Christianity”. The assumption, of course, is that Catholics don’t already.

    Dale, when was the Catholic church formed and to what person can it be attributed? If that question proves too difficult to answer, perhaps one more along the lines of your assertion would be helpful: how did God in His providence provide written revelation to the world? How did He preserve it? Does He preserve the proper understanding of that written revelation throughout the ages, and if so, how? What is the biblical standard of a teacher, and are you appointed according to that standard? On what basis should anyone consider as true (and therefore authoritatively binding) the interpretation of the Scriptures offered by the man named Dale instead of a man appointed in succession from the apostle Peter?

    Using “biblical” Christianity, I see a man named Jesus who is God, who is One with His Bride, the Church, which is the pillar and support of the truth (cf 1 Tim 3:15). If Jesus is God then He is the perfect Bridegroom and cannot unite himself to a harlot and can instead preserve His Bride; unlike Adam’s failure to defend Eve, Christ the new Adam will not fail to defend His Bride the Church. Paul calls the union of Christ and the Church a “great mystery” (Eph 5:32), and I would suggest perhaps a “great mystery” is more “meat” than “milk”. This union perpetuates in the world the great and wonderful scandal of the Incarnation.

    As before, you are welcome to continue in your own understanding of Scriptures produced by a family you now choose to repudiate. For myself, my sojourn away from the Church helped me to now appreciate all the more that God as a loving father does not leave His children to figure things out for themselves in every generation. I’ve had my time as a prodigal son and am happy to be back in the bosom of Mother Church. As St. Cyprian said “He does not have God as Father who does not also have the Church as Mother.” Perhaps someday you will say the same.

    In Him,
    Bill

  72. Dale (#68

    I do think, Dale, that what you say here is very insightful – and is, in fact, the only consistent alternative to Catholicism. Indeed, I think that most Christians may not be sufficiently clear about the implications of what I can call your ‘spiritual’ position. When I was struggling with the idea whether to become a Catholic or not, I remember telling my wife that, though I didn’t know how this struggle was going to end, I was quite sure of one thing – that if I did not become a Catholic, I must end up something rather like a Quaker. I might, indeed, find inspiration in the Bible – but not because it had any authoritative position. I might go to a church – but not because I thought God had ordained that I must belong to this or that visible body. It would be just God and me, direct, with all intermediaries being only insofar as I found them helpful.

    But I respect your position. A close friend – the Reformed elder who was in charge of our family – told me, once, that what he appreciated most of all about the Reformed worship was its austerity. When our small Reformed congregation bought what had been the local Baptist church building (the Baptists had built a great new large one!), there was a bare cross on the outside. Our elders had it removed. Nothing between us and God!

    It is just that I think that, since the Incarnation – since our God became a Man – that the true faith is not meant to be less material, but, in a sense, more. That is what Newman called the ‘Sacramental principle’ – materials things are to be the means of grace, since Our Lord’s Body is the means of our salvation.

    Thus in the Old Testament, material sacrifices were offered – but they, in themselves, could not take away sin. Now that God has become flesh, our material sacrifice – the Eucharist – because it is His Body – does, indeed, take away sin.

    And so forth.

    Thank you for your comment, which I found very helpful in reflecting both on my own past and my present understanding of the way we are to relate to God.

    jj

  73. Site admins! I am sorry, I referred my comment above to Dale! It was not him but Eric I was addressing! Apologies, and perhaps you could correct the error – and remove this meta-comment :-)

    jj

  74. Dale,

    I appreciate your concern for our souls— it’s good to see, and I mean that! We Catholics do care about our souls *and* the souls of other people.

    In your reply to Kim in comment #59, you referred to Galatians 2:16, and justification being by faith, rather than by works of the law. As a Catholic (who was a Protestant for several years), I believe what St. Paul teaches here. I believe what Paul is saying *in the context in which he is saying it.* It can be very dangerous to quote one or two verses here, and one or two verses there, possibly out of context, and then, build a theology based on those (possibly-out-of-context) verses. That is how heresies can start!

    St. Paul states that we are justified by faith, rather than by works of the law. No one is justified by their works. Catholics and Protestants actually agree on that question! The Catholic Church does not teach we are justified by our works. Therefore, Catholics and Protestants can agree there. However, Paul also does *not* say that we are justified by faith *alone*– and St. James specifically *denies* justification by faith alone in James 2:14-24. Now, I know the standard Reformed Protestant answer concerning James and works (because I used to hold to that answer myself, as a Reformed Baptist!)– James is simply saying that works are the “evidence” of our already having been justified before God. However, in light of James’s clear words that man is *not* justified by faith alone, doesn’t the Reformed explanation seem at least *a bit* like eisegesis, rather than exegesis?

    Let’s return to Paul, his letter to the Galatians, and the context of his words. I wrote about this issue in another thread for another article here, but as you don’t want to be directed to any other articles here, I will reproduce what I wrote below:

    When St. Paul writes, in Galatians, chapter 3 (and chapter 2), of the Christian’s justification apart from works, he is not affirming the Protestant understanding of such, but rather, he is affirming, for both Jewish and Gentile Christians, the absolute centrality of faith in Christ *over and above* circumcision and other “works of the law” which, at the time, divided Jewish and Gentile Christians. A careful examination of Galatians, chapter 5, clearly shows the “Jewish Christian/Gentile Christian” conflict, in that local church, which was/is the context for Paul’s writing about “the law” and “works”:

    1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery. 2 Now I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who receives circumcision that he is bound to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail, but faith working through love. 7 You were running well; who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine; and he who is troubling you will bear his judgment, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brethren, still preach circumcision, why am I still persecuted? In that case the stumbling block of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would mutilate themselves! 13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be servants of one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another take heed that you are not consumed by one another. 16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and do not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh; for these are opposed to each other, to prevent you from doing what you would. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are plain: fornication, impurity, licentiousness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, anger, selfishness, dissension, party spirit, 21 envy, drunkenness, carousing, and the like. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us have no self-conceit, no provoking of one another, no envy of one another.

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/galatians/5.html)

    Moreover, if in the letter to the Galatians, St. Paul had meant to deny the role, in justification, of *all* works, then would the Holy Spirit have inspired St. James to write, so very clearly, that man is justified *not* by faith alone, and that faith apart from works is *useless* (James 2:14-24)? I am well aware of the Reformed exegesis of James 2, but in light of the aforementioned “Jewish-Gentile conflict” context(s) of Galatians 3 and 5, the Reformed exegesis of James 2:14-24 seems, to me, to be more a form of Reformed eisegesis that looks beyond what James actually says, so as to fit his words into a Reformed paradigm.

    As polemical as I may sound here, I genuinely do not mean the above words in a disrespectful way to my Reformed brothers and sisters– especially given that for years, *I myself* strongly held to the Reformed exegesis on James 2. (!) However, in light of now having studied the Bible from “both sides of the Tiber,” and also having studied it, attempting to not give any preference to *either* side, the Catholic exegetical understanding of both Galatians and James on justification by faith (but not “faith alone”) seems more faithful to the actual Biblical texts *in* their contexts.

    Dale, I have studied the issue(s) of justification, faith, and works in the Bible. I have studied these issues very seriously *from the Bible*– and my last, most serious, most in-depth Biblical study on these issues helped to convince me that the Catholic Church’s position on justification *is* the Biblical position. Consider Jesus’s words, from the parable of the sheep and the goats in Matthew 25:31-46:

    31 “When the Son of man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, then he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 Before him will be gathered all the nations, and he will separate them one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats, 33 and he will place the sheep at his right hand, but the goats at the left. 34 Then the King will say to those at his right hand, ‘Come, O blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world; 35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ 37 Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry and feed thee, or thirsty and give thee drink? 38 And when did we see thee a stranger and welcome thee, or naked and clothe thee? 39 And when did we see thee sick or in prison and visit thee?’ 40 And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brethren, you did it to me.’ 41 Then he will say to those at his left hand, ‘Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels; 42 for I was hungry and you gave me no food, I was thirsty and you gave me no drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not welcome me, naked and you did not clothe me, sick and in prison and you did not visit me.’ 44 Then they also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see thee hungry or thirsty or a stranger or naked or sick or in prison, and did not minister to thee?’ 45 Then he will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it not to one of the least of these, you did it not to me.’ 46 And they will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/matthew/passage.aspx?q=matthew+25:31-46)

    Consider the placement of the word, “for,” in verse 35. This word seems to draw an explicit connection between one’s works and one’s *eternal destiny* in Heaven or in Hell– and not merely an “evidentiary” connection which shows that one was always “justified by faith alone.”

    In this vein, the word, “for,” in verse 35, seems to say that the ones who are “blessed of my Father,” who are mentioned in verse 34, are going to “inherit the kingdom prepared for (them) by my Father” at least partially *because of* their works. Justification by “faith alone” is nowhere even *implied* by Christ in this passage.

    I have witnessed some Reformed Christians speculating that this passage is merely about receiving “rewards in Heaven,” not about eternal salvation itself. However, verse 46 contradicts that assertion by speaking of “eternal punishment” and “eternal life.”

    Verse 45 speaks of a clearly *determinative factor* here, in terms of whether or not one goes on to eternal punishment or eternal life. That determinative factor is *what one does*. The Lord’s words are clear in verse 45– and His word are just as clear, really, throughout the entire passage. Works play a determinative role in our eternal destiny.

    Now, again, the Catholic Church does not teach that we can be justified before God by our works. In light of the many *other* words of Our Lord, throughout the rest of the New Testament, and in light of the writings of St. Paul and the other apostles, we know that works are very important, but they are not the *only* determinative factor in one’s eternal destiny. We cannot “save ourselves” by our works.

    To be saved, one must place his/her faith in Christ (and Christ alone!). In so many passages in the NT, our Lord and His apostles are very clear about the need for faith in Him, if one wishes to be saved and to have eternal life with God. In terms of justification by *faith alone* though, both Matthew 25:31-46 and James 2:14-24 provide very strong evidence against such a notion. We cannot “work our way to Heaven,” but these passages also argue strongly against the Protestant notion of doing good works while “resting in the perfect imputed righteousness of Christ.”

    To quote St. Paul from another part of the NT, we must “work out our salvation in fear and trembling”– a reality that seems very much at odds with the Protestant idea of doing good works while “resting in the perfect imputed righteousness of Christ.”

    Last thoughts for this comment. Briefly back to Matthew 25:31-46, some Reformed exegetes say that words “blessed of my Father” in verse 34 indicate that those who are going to Heaven are going, *not even partially* because of their works, but simply because they had had faith alone in Christ alone, by virtue of having been chosen and predestine *to* have that faith, and that, again, the works merely serve as “evidence” of that faith– but nothing in Christ’s actual words *here* would seem to lead one to such a conclusion. Often, at least in my reading, Reformed exegetes seem to be *drawing* that conclusion more from their interpretations of St. Paul’s letters than from the words of Christ.

    In retrospect, I do believe, now, that when I was a Reformed Baptist, I was reading many of Jesus’s words about works and salvation in light of what I *understood* St. Paul to teach on justification. As a Catholic, I try to be *very* careful to always read St. Paul’s teaching in the epistles in light of *Jesus’s* teaching in the Gospels, rather than the opposite.

    Dale, I have engaged with you *at length* exegetically here, *from the Bible*. Are you willing to do some serious examination of the Bible with the Catholics here? Simply quoting a few verses and telling us to repent is not having an actual serious Biblical discussion. I believe that you can do better than that, given that you are a Bible-reading, Bible-loving Christian (as I am too!).

  75. Eric,

    I am enjoying our communication so far.

    Since we are not really debating I’ll also disclose a little bit about my perspective leading to the Catholic faith. At one time, I had this whole it is God and me look at my Christian life. My mom and dad brought me up to be a solid Baptist yet respect other protestant groups. I really had no problem with believing that all of us protestants were the true catholic faith even if we disagreed and even when we had conflicting beliefs. Yet, we were one because we were not catholic. We did not have to attend the same bible meetings, the same church, or any visible congregation because we were of one Spirit. Yet, after I was going through some hard times and being alienated by visible congregations I started to see the need for a visible unity.

    Prayer was good in unity yet it was seeing all of us praying together that made it stronger. This strength in prayer has gone far beyond my imagination in the mass. I get to see Christ working through the priest (not of the priest’s own work) to give us the fullness of Himself in mystery. Consuming Him unites us Catholics through the world and is an amazing mystery beyond my comprehension. I am one in Spirit with John Thayer Jensen (sorry you wrote above me) through Christ though we have never met. That is a unity that goes beyond acquiescing to disagreeing about essentials, but unity through filters. That is Unity and Oneness of no works of my own, but faithful acceptance of Christ as the Bread of Heaven.

    Drew

  76. Is there any such thing as biblical anything? Dale talks about “Biblical Christianity,” and I’ve seen others talk about a “biblical worldview” or the “biblical God.”

  77. Bill Beacom said ….” In #28 you informed us of your long history within the Catholic tradition and that this history provided a basis from which you accurately demonstrate its erroneous beliefs. If that is the case, surely you know the answer about the thief on the cross? Surely you know the biblical evidence for purgatory, the role of Mary in the economy of salvation, the Eucharist as a re-presentation of the one-for-all sacrifice of Christ on the cross, God’s free choice to use created means (sacraments) to convey grace, the nature, purpose and efficacy of baptism, the structure of the church and the role of Peter’s successor therein? ”

    Bill, I know what the RCC teaches about these topics and I also know what Biblical Christianity teaches and because I have the Spirit of God I am led into truth and recognize error, and cannot with good conscience remain a roman catholic.

    I could answer your questions regarding when the RCC was formed but that is not where I would like to take this conversation, you see, your eternal destiny is at stake here, you are, according to the Bible, about to perish and spend an eternity in hell, and I love you too much not to say anything.

    You may have a number of liberal “Christians” that would agree with the RCC’s plan of salvation, but not so conservative Christians who know God.

    You see, that is what it all amounts to my friends, “And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” John 17:3

    You can kick and stamp your feet all you like and claim to know God, however, one of us i.e. the RCC and Biblical Christianity, has to be wrong here.

    You, on one hand, see nothing wrong with praying to Mary (prayer is worship) and dead saints, you see noting wrong with calling yourself “another Christ” or calling yourself “God”, you see nothing wrong with worshiping the eucharist, you see nothing wrong with these things and yet claim to have the Holy Spirit who convicts the world of sin and teaches us all truth.

    On the other hand, Biblical Christianity has major problems with the above and praying to anyone other than Jesus Christ disgusts us and we consider that sinful, not because we want to be unkind to the RC’s, simply because we believe that it is an offense to the God we know and love.

    Bryan O, the reason every time you quote Bible verses it is treated with suspicion and you are treated as if you do not have a relationship with Jesus is because we do not believe anyone that agrees with the RCC can be saved and therefore cannot have a relationship with the Jesus Christ of the Scriptures.

    As I have already expressed the RCC has another Jesus, another Gospel and another Holy Spirit:

    2Corinthians 11:3 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ.
    2Corinthians 11:4 For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

    You see, here is the crux of the matter, one of has to be in error and therefore one of us does not have the Holy Spirit and one of us cannot be saved…Do you see that ? I hope and pray you do.

    Chris F said ….”“ …to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord?”

    Said no Bible verse, ever.

    Read more closely, mate. :)

    Chris”

    Mate is a derogatory term Chris, I prefer “friend”

    2Corinthians 5:8 We are confident, I say, and willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.

    With love and respect,
    saint dale.

  78. Hi John (re:#72),

    Unfortunately, setting hawkish eyes on visible and material aspects of the faith leaves a undesirable impression. A consistent position can be consistently rigid, calculating or cold. Who, apart from the Christian, can give a more affirming view of these aspects ? The Word became flesh !

    Recent reflections on my relationship with God, coupled with the inevitable weakening of my material life, has yielded great insights. So many worthy things in this life have the sentence of death in them, for me at least. The hope of a redeemed flesh has anchored my soul’s sorrow and expectation. Recounting the past uncovers many layers of misery. Some miseries were inherited, and some willed. Comfort is promised in the promises of the Comforter !

    It is painful, and almost cruel, to feel opposing attitudes from others towards an object of faith and tender affection. This is why my opposition must, I say must, be respectful to the faithful and affectionate image of God. We are of a common stock with a common calling towards our Creator. My spirit discerns a foreigner, or intruder to be more exact. Something wants my faith and obedience because it is on a mission to secure them. It intrudes with a friendly knock at the door and appearance of concern. It quietly asks to enter by turning a familiar key: “This is my body”. Christ said this at the Eucharistic feast, therefore, the Eucharist is God incarnate. It has an unassailable inner logic, so why can’t my will turn to will it ? My will seems to find no place for it as I journey to the end. It has the sentence of death while it strives to survive in adherents and ordained successors.

    I am willing to explore this if you are, otherwise, thanks for the kind words and mutual enrichment.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  79. Christopher Lake, thanks for your comment, I’m sorry you are not satisfied with my line of questioning, I really do not think this discussion is as complicated as you are making it. I would however like to respond to this :

    You said; “In retrospect, I do believe, now, that when I was a Reformed Baptist, I was reading many of Jesus’s words about works and salvation in light of what I *understood* St. Paul to teach on justification. As a Catholic, I try to be *very* careful to always read St. Paul’s teaching in the epistles in light of *Jesus’s* teaching in the Gospels, rather than the opposite.”

    The mistake you made when you were supposed to be a Reformed Baptist while claiming to be a Christian was simply this; Paul’s writings are Jesus’ words my friend.

    All Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
    2Timothy 3:16-17

    You cannot distinguish between what Jesus said and what Paul taught because the whole of Scripture is the Word of God….Do you agree with that ?

    The difficulty many of you have in understanding sound doctrine comes from not having the Holy Spirit of God, you are unregenerate people trying to understand a supernatural book…look :

    And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual. The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1Corinthians 2:13-14

    As I have said previously one of us, i.e. Roman Catholics and Biblical Christians DOES NOT have the Spirit of God, one of us cannot be saved and remains lost.

    Repent and believe the Gospel, trust in God and stop putting your confidence in men.

    saint dale

  80. Dale, (re: #79)

    I haven’t participated much in this conversation, but I’ve been following it. I have a question regarding your most recent comment. You are claiming that the the Catholics participating in this discussion do not have the Holy Spirit, and are not regenerate. How do you know this?

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  81. Bryan C said …”I have a question regarding your most recent comment. You are claiming that the the Catholics participating in this discussion do not have the Holy Spirit, and are not regenerate. How do you know this?”

    Good question Bryan, I have tried to explain this and i’m sorry if I failed in that attempt.

    Quite simply, the Holy Spirit convicts us of our sin, that is His role, John 16:8.

    Amongst the many issues Christians have with the teachings of the RCC, namely the mass being another sacrifice, worship of the wafer, calling themselves “God” and “another Christ” and praying to Mary (worship) are sins or they are not, if they are, why does the Holy Spirit RC’s claim to have not convict them of that sin ? There is a contradiction here.

    It is not that Christians have a lack of understanding what the RCC teaches regarding the above, we understand it all too well and believe that much of what is taught is an abomination to the God we know and love. It is we believe, like many other false religions truth mixed with error and enough error to send many to hell forever.

    Logically, either we are wrong and are in grave error for not practicing the same teachings as the RCC and therefore cannot have the Holy Spirit, or the many individuals involved in the RCC are not hearing from the Holy Spirit and are deceived, lost, and heading for a lost eternity.

    “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ Matthew 7:21-23

    Do not be deceived my friends, trust in the true Jesus Christ, the One who was a sufficient sacrifice, once for all time.

    saint dale

  82. Dale, (re: #81)

    You wrote:

    Amongst the many issues Christians have with the teachings of the RCC, namely the mass being another sacrifice, worship of the wafer, calling themselves “God” and “another Christ” and praying to Mary (worship) are sins or they are not, if they are, why does the Holy Spirit RC’s claim to have not convict them of that sin ? There is a contradiction here.

    In Catholic theology, the mass is not “another sacrifice,” but one and the same sacrifice Christ offered on Calvary. We do not worship a “wafer,” because by the miracle of transubstantiation it is no longer a wafer, but Christ Himself. We do not call ourselves “God” or “another Christ” in an unqualified sense, but only in qualified sense, namely, by the gift of grace by which we are made participants in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), and are joined to His Body, and become His hands and feet (1 Cor 12). I understand that you think these are sins, and that therefore since we are not convicted of their being sinful, we must not have the Holy Spirit. But, surely you see that we could say the same thing to you regarding beliefs and practices that you affirm and perform, which according to Catholic theology are heretical and/or sinful. So we could (merely hypothetically) use the same argument to conclude that you don’t have the Spirit. But that would beg the question, i.e. presuppose precisely what is in question between us, namely, that these respective beliefs and practices each side believes to be heretical and/or sinful are in fact heretical and/or sinful. And begging the question makes resolving a disagreement impossible, because it is equivalent to each side pounding the table and asserting that it is right and the other party wrong. So we need to step back from that, and consider together whether and why the beliefs and practices about which we disagree are in fact sinful, and why we believe them to be sinful.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  83. Bryan C said …” In Catholic theology, the mass is not “another sacrifice,” but one and the same sacrifice Christ offered on Calvary. We do not worship a “wafer,” because by the miracle of transubstantiation it is no longer a wafer, but Christ Himself. We do not call ourselves “God” or “another Christ” in an unqualified sense, but only in qualified sense, namely, by the gift of grace by which we are made participants in the divine nature (2 Pet 1:4), and are joined to His Body, and become His hands and feet (1 Cor 12).”

    I understand you have reasons for teaching what you teach, Christians believe that according to Biblical Theology,Roman catholic theology is false, we see the above as merely a play on words, think back to the garden of Eden and the serpent deceiving Eve, when he asked “Has God really said..?”

    Bryan C also said….”But, surely you see that we could say the same thing to you regarding beliefs and practices that you affirm and perform, which according to Catholic theology are heretical and/or sinful………..And begging the question makes resolving a disagreement impossible, because it is equivalent to each side pounding the table and asserting that it is right and the other party wrong. So we need to step back from that, and consider together whether and why the beliefs and practices about which we disagree are in fact sinful, and why we believe them to be sinful.”

    Which is why I tried to emphasize the need to “know” God.

    You see, either the God of this universe hates worship of Mary and the wafer, (We don’t accept transubstantiation) and dead saints and all the other stuff I could mention regarding the RCC or He doesn’t ….If He does then you are still in your sin and lost, deceived, heading to hell forever….If He doesn’t then we are in grave error for not giving Mary her rightful place of worship, nor of the wafer and dead saints.

    The God we claim to know hates worship of Mary, the God we know died a sufficient sacrifice for His people’s sins past, present and future,so there is no more condemnation for us and purgatory cannot exist.
    Incidentally I think this is worthy of mention, the God we worship brought great revivals throughout history using men of God like Whitefield, Wesley, Spurgeon and many others who DID NOT teach the same Gospel that RC’s believe, yet God blessed that work and brought salvation to millions. Ask yourself why that is ? If the RCC message is the truth why were these men not preaching that message ??

    The God you claim to know does not mind you making statues and worshiping Mary, the God you claim to know did not pay the full price for all your sins on the cross at Calvary, the God you claim to know has given you another Mediator in Mary and the God you claim to know does not forgive certain sins, i.e. suicide.

    Bryan C….These are 2 totally contradictory God’s these are different enough so that we can never be united. I reiterate, one of us is wrong.

    One of us is trusting the Word of God and nothing else, and one of us has the Word of God plus tradition.

    Repent and put your trust in God’s Word alone which is sufficient to fully equip you for every good work.

    saint dale

  84. Dale, (re: #83)

    You wrote:

    Christians believe that according to Biblical Theology,Roman catholic theology is false, we see the above as merely a play on words, think back to the garden of Eden and the serpent deceiving Eve, when he asked “Has God really said..?”

    What I’m pointing out is the unhelpfulness of begging the question in Catholic-Protestant dialogue aimed at coming to agreement concerning the truth. So in order to address the points of disagreement, we have step back from the mere assertions that the other side is wrong, and find the common ground from which to determine the truth.

    Which is why I tried to emphasize the need to “know” God.

    That’s something we emphasize also, knowing God in the friendship sense of knowing (i.e. not just knowing about God).

    The God we claim to know hates worship of Mary, the God we know died a sufficient sacrifice for His people’s sins past, present and future,so there is no more condemnation for us and purgatory cannot exist.

    I understand that that’s your position. But, like I said, merely asserting the truth of your position (and the falsity of Catholic doctrines) isn’t helpful at coming to agreement concerning the truth, because it begs the question, and reduces to mere table-pounding.

    Incidentally I think this is worthy of mention, the God we worship brought great revivals throughout history using men of God like Whitefield, Wesley, Spurgeon and many others who DID NOT teach the same Gospel that RC’s believe, yet God blessed that work and brought salvation to millions. Ask yourself why that is ? If the RCC message is the truth why were these men not preaching that message ??

    It wasn’t only after the sixteenth century that persons who denied some aspect of Catholic doctrine began to preach and teach according to their own beliefs and interpretation. That sort of thing has been happening since the first century, when Simon Magus accumulated disciples to himself and, according to the tradition, even traveled to Rome to advance his sect. The point is that from the Catholic point of view, deficient and distorted forms of the gospel have being preached by false teachers [often well-intentioned, but nevertheless badly mistaken in certain respects] from the beginning.

    Repent and put your trust in God’s Word alone

    Again, this sort of exhortation isn’t helpful, because it begs the question, i.e. presupposes the falsehood of the Catholic teaching regarding the authority of Tradition. Regarding the authority of Tradition, see Section VIII: Scripture and Tradition in my dialogue with Michael Horton.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  85. Eric (#<a href="http://www.calledtocommunion.com/2012/10/reformation-day-2012-remembrance-and-reconciliation/#comment-39479"78)

    I am willing to explore this if you are, otherwise, thanks for the kind words and mutual enrichment.

    Oh, I wasn’t trying to get into a debate about it, just resonating with what you wrote. I do think it comes down to either/or: either the Incarnation affects everything in this world, including the material stuff – C. S. Lewis’s “good infection” that he talks about in Mere Christianity – or nothing. I do think that if the Catholic Church is not true, then there is nothing in this world that in itself connects me to God – including Scriptures, churches, etc.

    But it does seem to me that the Incarnation has, indeed, re-sacralised the world. There is so much one could go to here. Just one example is the quite striking attitude of the earliest Christians to the dead. To the Jews, the dead were unclean – radically so. Touch a dead cockroach and you are unclean until evening! But the early Church quickly made it the standard practice to use the tombs of the dead Christians as altars for the Eucharistic Sacrifice.

    Not an argument – not trying to make a case, really. It seems irresistible to me, but it involves a fundamentally new worldview.

    jj

  86. Dale (re:#79),

    Thank you for the reply. You wrote to me (including a quotation from Scripture, which I appreciate, being that I do love the Bible, and I do trust in *Christ alone* for my salvation, as a Catholic!):

    The mistake you made when you were supposed to be a Reformed Baptist while claiming to be a Christian was simply this; Paul’s writings are Jesus’ words my friend.

    All Scripture is God breathed and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be competent, equipped for every good work.
    2Timothy 3:16-17

    You cannot distinguish between what Jesus said and what Paul taught because the whole of Scripture is the Word of God….Do you agree with that ?

    Dale, I do agree with you that Paul only teaches what Jesus teaches us in the Scriptures. I would never want to posit that Jesus’s words are at odds with Paul’s, or vice versa. I accept and believe the *whole counsel* of the Bible.

    In some ways though, your *understanding* of certain Biblical passages from both Jesus and Paul differs from mine. We can certainly agree on that, can’t we? I hope we can, given that you don’t even think I am regenerate! The question is, how do you know that your interpretation of those Biblical passages is *correct*? On what basis do you believe your interpretation to be correct?

    You may answer, “From the witness of the Holy Spirit, and by using sound principles of Biblical exegesis, I can know that I am interpreting the Bible correctly on essential matters.” Now, I do want to be clear that we, as Catholics, do believe that you, personally, as a baptized, Trinitarian Protestant, have the Holy Spirit to illuminate you in interpreting Scripture. You might be surprised to hear that, but it’s a fact!

    However, it is still a fact that, within Protestantism itself, even operating on “Sola Scriptura” principles of exegesis, there are different teachings (from *interpretation* of the Bible!) on:

    1. Whether or not a true Christian can fall away from God and lose his/her salvation
    2. The proper meaning and understanding of “justification by faith alone”
    3. The place of works in our justification (see the “Federal Vision” controversy among Presbyterians)
    3. The correct understanding of the Lord’s Supper
    4. The correct meaning, mode, and timing of baptism
    5. Whether (and/or under what circumstances) divorce and remarriage are allowable for Christians
    6. Whether speaking in tongues (in the present day) is “Biblical”– or actually pernicious

    Whose Biblical interpretations on the above issues are correct, Dale? From what you’ve written, it seems that you hold to a generally “Calvinist” understanding of Scripture– but Calvinists disagree *among themselves* as to what Scripture teaches on issues 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 above!

    The fact is, your interpretation of many Biblical passages differs with the Scriptural understanding of *most professing Christians* from, say, 100 A.D. to 1500 A.D. This does not mean that you are not a Christian, but it does mean that most of Christian history testifies against many of your Biblical interpretations. Does this give you *any* cause for pause to think that *perhaps* some of your interpretations might not be correct?

    You mention men such as Whitefield, Spurgeon, and Wesley who brought great revivals. I agree that these men, by God’s grace, helped many souls come to a place of seeing their need for conversion by the Holy Spirit. That does not mean that their Biblical understanding was not faulty in some serious ways. People can be serious, committed Christians and still have some things seriously Biblically wrong.

    Of course, I know that you believe Catholics to be Biblically wrong on the most important issue– the Gospel itself! I thought the same thing for years too, Dale. Do you know that in 2008, the Pope clarified that Martin Luther’s understanding of “justification by faith alone” is compatible with Catholic Biblical teaching, as long as “faith alone” is understood to mean faith that is formed by love for God? http://www.zenit.org/article-24309?l=english

    I note note that you speak quite easily of “Catholics” and “Christians.” This is also familiar to me, as I used to do the same. Many conservative Protestant Biblical teachers actually believe that Catholics and Protestants are united by a common faith in Christ alone. Have you heard of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together?” http://www.firstthings.com/article/2008/09/001-the-gift-of-salvation-28

  87. P.S. Dale,

    Sorry for the typo in numbering in my reply to you, #86. I actually listed *seven* areas (not six) in which Protestants disagree, among themselves, about what the Bible teaches. These are serious issues, my friend, and “Sola Scriptura” Protestants cannot come to agreement on them through Bible exegesis. Thank you for the continuing conversation.

  88. Bryan C….I appreciate the tone of your responses.

    You said ….”What I’m pointing out is the unhelpfulness of begging the question in Catholic-Protestant dialogue aimed at coming to agreement concerning the truth. So in order to address the points of disagreement, we have step back from the mere assertions that the other side is wrong, and find the common ground from which to determine the truth.”

    You see, Bryan, the Word of God says this :

    1Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

    You simply need to submit to God’s Word Bryan, when God’s Word says for example; “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

    You must trust Him at His Word, you do not read that verse then think something like this : “Well, my priests say Mary is a mediator therefore the Bible cannot mean what it says here.”…Do you see that Bryan ?

    Jesus says : “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.”

    We simply humble ourselves and believe God at His Word, like a little child trusts his/her parent. And we do not add to it.

    You also said ….” That’s something we emphasize also, knowing God in the friendship sense of knowing (i.e. not just knowing about God). ”

    It is actually more than knowing Him in the “friendship sense” Bryan, Adam knew Eve, the meaning of knowing God in John 17, is that it is an intimate personal relationship, as intimate as it gets.

    Let me repeat Bryan, the God I know hates Mary worship, prayers to Mary is worship, please spare me the reasons/justification for doing it. God hates sin and those who practice sin.
    Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers…Is that the God you “know” Bryan ? I think not.

    One of us DOES NOT know God, one of us is lost and about to die in our sin and spend an eternity in hell forever.

    Roman catholics in their millions along with Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses practice the sin of idolatry every day Bryan.

    The Word of God says this :

    “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,……..”Exodus 20:4-5

    I’m assuming you have seen that many times before, will you obey it ? or will you silence the voice of your conscience and look to the Vatican instead ?

    1Corinthians 2:14 explains why you will not obey it Bryan.

    We cannot ever be united as long as you or any other Roman catholic remains faithful to the teachings of the RCC. It is the difference between light and dark Bryan the two cannot exist together.

    Thanks for the link, may I return the favour and ask you to visit this one? it is a very short video I think you will find fascinating :

    http://youtu.be/LXeb-x63wGI

    saint dale

  89. Christopher Lake said….” I do love the Bible, and I do trust in *Christ alone* for my salvation, as a Catholic!): ”

    If you are trusting in Christ alone for your salvation you are going against the teachings of the RCC …You do realise that don’t you ?

    Christopher also said….” Now, I do want to be clear that we, as Catholics, do believe that you, personally, as a baptized, Trinitarian Protestant, have the Holy Spirit to illuminate you in interpreting Scripture.”

    How can you make that claim Christopher ? since one of us clearly DOES NOT know Jesus Christ, we have, as I have demonstrated a few times now, different Gospels, a different Jesus and different Holy Spirits :

    2Corinthians 11:3-4 But I am afraid that as the serpent deceived Eve by his cunning, your thoughts will be led astray from a sincere and pure devotion to Christ. For if someone comes and proclaims another Jesus than the one we proclaimed, or if you receive a different spirit from the one you received, or if you accept a different gospel from the one you accepted, you put up with it readily enough.

    Christopher asked …” Whose Biblical interpretations on the above issues are correct, Dale? From what you’ve written, it seems that you hold to a generally “Calvinist” understanding of Scripture– but Calvinists disagree *among themselves* as to what Scripture teaches on issues 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6 above! ”
    I am a Reformed Baptist we adhere to the 1689 Baptists confession of faith. Not sure where you get your information from, but I don’t know any Calvinists that would disagree with us on 2, 3, and 3 again typo on your part.

    You also said …” Do you know that in 2008, the Pope clarified that Martin Luther’s understanding of “justification by faith alone” is compatible with Catholic Biblical teaching, …”

    I have heard the pope saying similar things but know that he and the hierarchy generally withing the RCC are double minded men who as Luther put it ” so often contradict themselves” that I cannot take anything they say seriously, especially when they, after saying something that sounds positive like this then go and worship in a mosque and kiss the qu’ran… surely you see how very wrong that is ??

    Finally you said ….”Many conservative Protestant Biblical teachers actually believe that Catholics and Protestants are united by a common faith in Christ alone. Have you heard of “Evangelicals and Catholics Together?””

    I would disagree with you when you say “Many conservative Protestant Biblical teachers actually believe that Catholics and Protestants are united” and I would agree with the men that stood against ECT. men like John Macarthur, R.C. Sproul , Alistair Begg and James White. These men recognize the dangers of such movements, and I would add to that the Words of my God, Jesus Christ when He said :

    Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness? 2 Corinthians 6:14

    saint dale

  90. Drew (re: #75),

    Whatever my Baptist parents gave me seems to be coming full circle. A part of my life includes fellowship, study and communion with roman catholics. All things are mine in Christ (1Cor. 3:22), so I have decided to retain many treasures mined from RC fields. Strangely enough, I have discovered great blessings through the alienation of visible congregations. Failings of visible trustees helped me see invisible truths. Also, they helped to make righteous judgments about sin within and without. Harder times cause less toleration for disagreements and disunity. Some christians of an earlier age separated because they saw a greater need for holiness. What differentiates you from them when holiness is substituted for visible unity ?

    Your experience of prayer would have pleased Pope Paul VI:

    6. This first reason is not simply canonical—relating to an external precept. It is connected with the charism of the liturgical act. In other words, it is linked with the power and efficacy of the Church’s prayer, the most authoritative utterance of which comes from the Bishop. This is also true of priests, who help the Bishop in his ministry, and like him act in persona Christi (cf. St. Ign., ad Eph. I, V). It is Christ’s will, it is the breath of the Holy Spirit which calls the Church to make this change. A prophetic moment is occurring in the mystical body of Christ, which is the Church. This moment is shaking the Church, arousing it, obliging it to renew the mysterious art of its prayer.

    http://www.ewtn.com/library/PAPALDOC/P6691126.HTM

    I have an important question about the unity you share with other christians. Everything you mentioned is perfectly compatible with a sedevacantist-roman catholic. If you are unfamiliar with them, then I would recommend this website and teaching ministry of Fr. Jenkins. I learned from him for a short time.

    http://sspv.org/links.html

    What kind of unity and communion do you have with sedevacantists ?

    Heavy stuff, but thanks for sharing your perspectives and time. I have enjoyed it.

    Eric

  91. Dale, (re: #88)

    You said:

    You see, Bryan, the Word of God says this :

    1Corinthians 2:14 The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned.

    You simply need to submit to God’s Word Bryan, when God’s Word says for example; “For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,”

    I do submit to that verse, though perhaps not to your interpretation of the verse. The doctrine that Jesus is the sole Mediator between God and man is referring to that by which grace is merited for us, and our eternal debt of our sin is paid. Only the God-man Jesus Christ could do that, and has done that. But, that does not mean that Christ can use no other person as an instrument by which to bring that grace to us, through their prayers and intercessions. And that is the sense in which Mary, all the saints, the angels and even fellow believers on earth are instruments of the grace Christ alone won for us on the cross. A good explanation of the Catholic teaching concerning Mary’s mediatorial role is given in the lecture titled “Mary’s Spiritual Maternity and Mediation” accessible at this link.

    You must trust Him at His Word, you do not read that verse then think something like this : “Well, my priests say Mary is a mediator therefore the Bible cannot mean what it says here.”…Do you see that Bryan ?

    I do trust His Word, but I don’t trust your interpretation of it, because you haven’t received Holy Orders from the Apostles. I trust the successors of the Apostles’ interpretation of Scripture.

    Jesus says : “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.” We simply humble ourselves and believe God at His Word, like a little child trusts his/her parent. And we do not add to it.

    I agree. But it takes even more humility to submit to those He authorized to teach and interpret His gospel, rather than elevating ourselves and trusting in our own interpretation of Scripture.

    It is actually more than knowing Him in the “friendship sense” Bryan, Adam knew Eve, the meaning of knowing God in John 17, is that it is an intimate personal relationship, as intimate as it gets.

    I agree. That’s what I meant by the “friendship sense.”

    Let me repeat Bryan, the God I know hates Mary worship, prayers to Mary is worship, please spare me the reasons/justification for doing it.

    You’re begging the question again. Why do you think Jesus hates it when His children honor His mother, or ask her to pray for them?

    God hates sin and those who practice sin. Psalm 5:5 The boastful shall not stand before your eyes; you hate all evildoers…

    I agree, of course.

    Roman catholics in their millions along with Muslims, Mormons and Jehovah’s Witnesses practice the sin of idolatry every day Bryan. The Word of God says this: “You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the LORD your God am a jealous God,……..”Exodus 20:4-5 I’m assuming you have seen that many times before, will you obey it ? or will you silence the voice of your conscience and look to the Vatican instead ?

    The prohibition against the use of icons or images in worship was limited to the people of Israel, prior to the incarnation of Christ. You are interpreting the passage as though it is an absolute prohibition for all time. But the Church teaches that with the coming of Christ in the flesh, images and icons of Christ reflect the truth that God became man.

    1Corinthians 2:14 explains why you will not obey it Bryan.

    Your assumption that I am a “natural person” devoid of the Spirit is based on your presupposition that your interpretation of Ex 20 is correct, and that the Catholic Church’s is false. But that just begs the question, i.e. presupposes precisely what is in question between us.

    Thanks for the link, may I return the favour and ask you to visit this one? it is a very short video I think you will find fascinating :

    http://youtu.be/LXeb-x63wGI

    Thanks. I’ve seen that clip before. White asks, “if giving alms can cover sins, why did Christ die upon the cross?” And the Catholic answer to White’s question is twofold. First, it is not merely the giving of alms that covers sins, but doing so in agape, and this agape comes to us through the sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Second, the ‘covering’ of sins refers to temporal punishment, not eternal punishment, which was forgiven us on account of Christ’s atonement.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  92. Hi Dale,

    What is your view on the church of rome as a particular visible church ?

    Thanks,
    Eric

  93. Dale,

    I would disagree with you on who has the Biblical view. There are some things we agree upon, but there are many areas where I feel you are the one that is not biblical. I will give a few examples.

    I take this passage in a much more literal [and I feel, Biblical way ]and you do not:

    3 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you. 54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day. 55 For my flesh is true food, and my blood is true drink.56 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood abides in me, and I in him. 57 As the living Father sent me, and I live because of the Father, so whoever feeds on me, he also will live because of me.58 This is the bread that came down from heaven, not like the bread the fathers ate, and died. Whoever feeds on this bread will live forever.” 59 Jesus said these things in the synagogue, as he taught at Capernaum.

    I Cor 11:27 Whoever, therefore, eats the bread or drinks the cup of the Lord in an unworthy manner will be guilty concerning the body and blood of the Lord. 28 Let a person examine himself, then, and so eat of the bread and drink of the cup. 29 For anyone who eats and drinks without discerning the body eats and drinks judgment on himself. 30 That is why many of you are weak and ill, and some have died.

    I would consider your view as not being Biblical.

    Catholics Agree With both of these passages—

    Rev 19:8 it was granted her to clothe herself with fine linen, bright and pure”— for the fine linen is the righteous deeds of the saints.(in other words they are not filthy rags because they are done by grace in the power of the Spirit)

    I believe this and hold it with Rev 7:14 said to him, “Sir, you know.” And he said to me, “These are the ones coming out of the great tribulation. They have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.

    The true gospel includes what James says, but you give it a different interpretation and thus you have a different gospel:
    You take James statement on Justification and do not take it literally, but reinterpret it. It is the only place in Scripture that speaks of justification with the words “faith alone” and here it denies that faith is alone. Catholics hold to the Biblical view; which is that in justification faith is not alone–you do not.

    Catholics agree with what Jesus said to Peter here:

    Matt 16:19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.”
    You reinterpret this and take it out of the context and also out of the understanding which the Jews would have understood this in Is 22.which has to do with the stewardship of the King’s house.

    You believe in the Bible alone which is not biblical–it is opposed to the teaching in the Bible itself. The Bible doesn’t teach the Bible alone, but instead includes good tradition passed on 2 Thess 2:15 “So then, brethren, stand firm and hold to the traditions which you were taught, whether by word of mouth or by letter from us.” I Cor 11:2 “Now I praise you because you remember me in everything, and hold firmly to the traditions, as I delivered them to you.”

    Jesus’ prayer in John 17 is answered in the Catholic Church who demonstrates this unity. As I stated in comment 48 the Protestants are constantly dividing as can be demonstrated even by the churches I have attended—
    John 17:20 “I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, 21 that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.

    Thus Protestants who believe in the Bible alone can not come to an agreement of what it teaches because they make themselves the authority of interpreting scripture claiming they each have the Holy Spirit, but they can’t come to an agreement. Instead of an authority for interpreting scripture that God has ordained, each Protestant becomes his own Pope claiming he has the Holy Spirit. Catholics trust what Christ has said about authority which includes the Holy Spirit preserving and guiding the church , the church being the pillar and ground of the truth, and Peter is who Christ says he gives the keys to, etc. As one person has stated: ” Protestantism leans too much on mere traditions of men (every denomination stems from one Founder’s vision. As soon as two or more of these contradict each other, error is necessarily present).”

    The Protestants have weakened the Biblical meaning of the church: The Bible states that the church of the living God is the pillar and ground (or support) of the truth.(I Timothy 3;15). It is through the church and its traditions and councils that we had the Bible preserved, and came to understand Sunday worship, the creeds, the doctrine of the Trinity, the doctrine of the nature of Christ etc

    Catholics do not weaken or tip toe around this statement in Romans 2: 5 But because of your hard and impenitent heart you are storing up wrath for yourself on the day of wrath when God’s righteous judgment will be revealed.
    6 He will render to each one according to his works: 7 to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; 8 but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. 9 There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, 10 but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. 11 For God shows no partiality.

    Catholics don’t see that the cherubim in the Holy of Holies as an idol nor do we view:I Kings 6:9 Around all the walls of the house he carved engraved figures of cherubim and palm trees and open flowers, in the inner and outer rooms.” as an idol. Nor do we view the snake carved on a pole in the OT as an idol. They were not carved as an image of worship, nor are the statues in the Catholic church.

    In conclusion Dale , for you to say we are not biblical holds no water.. I see you as the one that denies many important truths of the Bible. So to keep charging each other as being “unbiblical” does not help in the discussion. I merely did this to show it does not aid in the discussion.

    Thanks, Kim

  94. Bryan C said …..” I agree. But it takes even more humility to submit to those He authorized to teach and interpret His gospel, rather than elevating ourselves and trusting in our own interpretation of Scripture. ”

    Bryan, claiming to have more humility than someone else is NOT a good sign of humility, or as a Reformed Calvinist preacher friend of mine once said …” The day you think you have humility is the day you have lost it “….Think about it!

    Bryan also said …”Your assumption that I am a “natural person” devoid of the Spirit is based on your presupposition that your interpretation of Ex 20 is correct, and that the Catholic Church’s is false.”

    Yes I know Bryan, that is just my interpretation of that verse and you can use that excuse everytime I quote a verse that exposes your false religion, however my friend, that just proves :

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1Corinthians 2:14

    Come to Jesus Christ Bryan, submit to Him and reject the false teachings of Rome and He will set you free.

    With concern for your eternal destiny

    saint dale

  95. Eric asked ….”What is your view on the church of rome as a particular visible church ?”

    Hi Eric, the church of Rome is no more a Christian church than the Mormon church, the Jehovah’s Witness church, or any other false representation of Biblical Christianity, however in the eyes of the world all of them are “Christian churches” and therefore in the eyes of the lost are members of the visible church.

    I hope this answers your question ?

    why do you ask ?

    with respect
    saint dale

  96. Dale (re:#89),

    Thank you for your reply. You state that you have “demonstrated” that Catholics and Protestants have “different Gospels,” and, that therefore, one of us does not “know God.” With respect, my friend, you have demonstrated no such thing here. :-) You have quoted a Bible verse here, and a Bible verse there, and then, you have simply asserted that one interpretation of them is “the Gospel.” An assertion is not a demonstration.

    I trusted in Christ alone, as a Protestant, and I trust in Christ alone, as a Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches that we are to trust in Christ alone, and that our salvation is by God’s grace alone. Catholics are not to “trust in our works to save us.” I have studied the Church’s teaching on this issue. The Church condemned both Pelagianism and semi-Pelagianism. I’ve certainly studied the Bible on this issue– which helped to lead me *out* of Calvinist Protestantism and back *to* the Catholic Church.

    Trusting in Christ alone for one’s salvation does not equate to holding to the Protestant doctrine of “justification by faith alone.” In my comment #74, I explained exegetically, from the Scriptures, some of the *reasons* why I do not believe that Sola Fide is not Biblical, but you did not even attempt to truly engage with my exegesis.

    Dale, I have to say, my friend, you remind me of myself six years ago. I was a member of Capitol Hill Baptist Church (you may be familiar with Mark Dever, the senior pastor there), where I was taught, from the Biblical interpretations of Mark and other elders there, that Catholics are lost and damned, unless they repent and affirm the “true Biblical Gospel of justification by faith alone.” I believed these interpretations of Scripture at the time, because, given the exegetical persuasiveness of the elders, their interpretations simply seemed like the clear teaching of Scripture.

    Eventually, after a geographical move, but as a committed member of another five-point-Calvinist, “9 Marks of Healthy Church” congregation, I embarked upon a deeper examination and study of Scripture. This time, I found that there were many problems, exegetically, with certain things that I was taught at CHBC and in my present church of that time. I mean no disrespect at all to the pastors/elders of those congregations and the laypeople. They are some of the most Christ-centered, Bible-loving, holy, serious, and kind Christians I have ever known. They have the same understanding of the Gospel that you do, and yet, the Catholic Church states that they, and you, are “separated brethren” in Christ. Our exact articulations of the Gospel, and some of our Biblical interpretations, differ, but we do share a common faith in Christ alone. I know that you disagree about that though, and I’ve been there. Mark Dever doesn’t approve of ECT either, and I didn’t approve it when I was at CHBC, due to my Biblical understanding at the time.

    Out of curiosity, when you were a Catholic, did you practice the faith seriously? Did you study the Bible and the Catholic Catechism (and no, to be clear, the Church does *not* take the Catechism to be on the same level as Scripture)?

    When you were Catholic, did you know when someone was *misstating* the doctrines and teachings of the Catholic faith? Was your faith *personal*, in the sense that you had a relationship of faith in the one true God through faith in Jesus Christ alone? That is the Catholic faith, Dale, and if that wasn’t *your* faith, at that time, then I am truly sorry. The Catechism speaks very clearly about the Catholic faith being one of a personal relationship of faith in Jesus Christ.

    As a Catholic, could you have explained and defended your Catholic faith from the Scriptures? I can do so, and other Catholics here can do so, and at least some of us have been trying to do so, but it seems that you have assumed that your interpretations of Scripture are correct, and therefore, you aren’t willing to listen to us. Isn’t humility one of the marks of being a Christian, Dale?

    You mentioned that you don’t know where I get my information from, but you have not seen disagreement among Calvinists on some of the issues that I mentioned in #86. Surely you have heard of the Federal Vision Controversy, concerning justification and works, among the Reformed? Many Reformed people believe FV to be “another gospel,” and that those who subscribe to it are heretics. One of the Catholics converts here, Jason Stellman, is a former PCA minister who led the prosecution in the PCA against Peter Leithart for holding to “Federal Vision” views.

    There is disunity among the Reformed on justification (and on many other serious issues). Some Reformed people deny that disunity, though, by saying that those whom they oppose are, again, holding to “another gospel.” I used to do the same.

  97. P.S. Dale,

    Me and my typos… Sorry again, my friend… It’s not easy, typing very lengthy comments, to the point of fatigue, and then, trying to proofread them, when one has Cerebral Palsy. :-) I do these things though, because I care about you, and I care about Catholic/Protestant dialogue and discussion. I may not always do them very well, but I do try! :-)

    In my reply to you, at #93, I meant to type, “In my comment #74, I explained exegetically, from the Scriptures, some of the *reasons* why I do not believe that Sola Fide is Biblical, but you did not even attempt to truly engage with my exegesis.” Mea culpa, my Protestant interlocutor friend. :-)

  98. Dale, (re: #94)

    You wrote:

    Bryan, claiming to have more humility than someone else is NOT a good sign of humility,

    Just to be clear, I did not claim to have more humility than anyone. What I’m saying is that all other things being equal, it takes more humility to submit to those He authorized than to trust in one’s own interpretation of Scripture.

    Yes I know Bryan, that is just my interpretation of that verse and you can use that excuse everytime I quote a verse that exposes your false religion,

    Your claim that it is “an excuse” is not charitable. It presupposes that I think your interpretation is true, but am merely trying to make excuses to avoid accepting your interpretation. But that presupposition is not true. I think your interpretation is not only your interpretation, but also neither true nor authorized, for the reasons I explained in #91. One precondition for genuine ecumenical dialogue is charity, and charity calls us to think the best of our interlocutor, not to presume that he is being intellectually dishonest by making excuses for not accepting what deep down he knows to be true.

    however my friend, that just proves :

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1Corinthians 2:14

    The premise you are using to “prove” that I am devoid of the Spirit is based on the untrue and uncharitable assumption that I’m merely making excuses to avoid embracing your interpretation.

    Come to Jesus Christ Bryan, submit to Him and reject the false teachings of Rome and He will set you free.

    Your statement presupposes that I am not united to Jesus or submitting to Him, and that the teachings of the Catholic Church are false. And all three of those presuppositions are question-begging, because they have not been established here. I’ve been trying to point out that question-begging criticisms or objections are entirely unhelpful, because they provide the other person with no reason to change his position. And the only alternative to providing reasons, is force or cajoling. And that’s something we do not permit here, as I explained in comment #25.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  99. Christopher, you and I have different Gospels my friend, you and I have a different Jesus, and another Spirit.

    * Your gospel says that we get another chance after we die in purgatory, my Gospel denies this.

    * Your jesus was not a sufficient sacrifice upon the cross for our sins because you may have to spend a while in purgatory being purged from sin before entering heaven, my Jesus said “It is finished” or translated from the Greek ; “Paid in full.”

    * Your spirit does not convict you of idolatry, worshiping Mary, dead saints and relics, the Holy Spirit I have tells me that no idolater will enter heaven.

    I repeat, we have different Gospels a different Jesus and Spirit. One of us is wrong and DOES NOT know God, and therefore cannot be saved my friend.

    You said …”I trusted in Christ alone, as a Protestant, and I trust in Christ alone, as a Catholic. The Catholic Church teaches that we are to trust in Christ alone, and that our salvation is by God’s grace alone. Catholics are not to “trust in our works to save us.”

    Your Catholic Catechism says :

    #1129 The Church affirms that for believers the sacraments of the New Covenant are necessary for salvation. (Council of Trent.)

    # 2068 the mission of teaching all peoples, and of preaching the Gospel to every creature, so that all men may attain salvation through faith, Baptism and the observance of the Commandments.

    Christopher, that is an interesting story of your decision to convert to roman catholicism, I have only one thing to say to you that may help you :

    1John 2:19 They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would have continued with us. But they went out, that it might become plain that they all are not of us.

    Christopher, you were never a Christian, and the evidence of that was that you did not stay faithful, you had a false conversion to Christianity, I hope and pray that you are not apostate, it does not look good my friend.

    I don’t see how anyone can claim to know God and agree with the RCC, not only are they different religions, it breaks the law of non contradiction as I have demonstrated above.

    with concern for you

    saint dale

  100. Bryan C said…” Your claim that it is “an excuse” is not charitable. It presupposes that I think your interpretation is true, but am merely trying to make excuses to avoid accepting your interpretation. But that presupposition is not true. I think your interpretation is not only your interpretation, but also neither true nor authorized, for the reasons I explained in #91.”

    I was not aiming to be less than charitable Bryan, I was merely pointing out the fact that you can use that phrase; “that is only your interpretation” every single time I quote the Bible and it sheds light on the false teachings of Rome.
    Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses would do the exact same thing because :

    The natural person does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are folly to him, and he is not able to understand them because they are spiritually discerned. 1Corinthians 2:14

    Bryan also said…”The premise you are using to “prove” that I am devoid of the Spirit is based on the untrue and uncharitable assumption that I’m merely making excuses to avoid embracing your interpretation.”

    Not exactly Bryan, it is based upon the Word of God. As I have demonstrated we have different Gospels a different Jesus and a different Spirit, Biblically and logically one of us DOES NOT have the Spirit of God to be able to understand the Word of God.

    Incidentally, Rc’s will not say that Christians do not have the Spirit of God and are not saved perhaps because your way to heaven is not narrow, perhaps because the pope is attempting to unite all religions and toy with the idea that there are many ways to God, perhaps because your CCC states that Muslims are saved also and worship the same God ?

    Jesus Christ said this : “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Matthew 7:13

    Bryan also said …” Your statement presupposes that I am not united to Jesus or submitting to Him, and that the teachings of the Catholic Church are false. And all three of those presuppositions are question-begging, because they have not been established here. I’ve been trying to point out that question-begging criticisms or objections are entirely unhelpful, because they provide the other person with no reason to change his position.”

    That’s correct Bryan, I do not believe that you know God, and I believe that the teachings of the RCC are very definitely false.
    Like everyone else on this planet Bryan you little room for argument, the Word of God is not to be disagreed with, you must simply submit as I and many others have.

    I make no apologies for cajoling you yet again Bryan but this is far too important.
    Do it today while you still have air in your lungs because when you die you will meet an angry God who hates idolatry, and as I have said earlier Mary worship idolatry of the worst kind my friend.

    Or do you not know that the unrighteous will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: neither the sexually immoral, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor men who practice homosexuality,
    nor thieves, nor the greedy, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God. 1Corinthians 6:9-10

    with respect
    saint dale.

  101. Dale, (re: #100)

    You wrote:

    Like everyone else on this planet Bryan you little room for argument, the Word of God is not to be disagreed with, you must simply submit as I and many others have.

    I affirm the truth of every passage of Scripture. What I do not necessarily affirm, are your interpretations of Scripture. But what you are doing is treating your interpretations of Scripture as though they are “the Word of God” itself, and then asserting that anyone who does not share [your interpretation] does not have the Spirit of God. You can see, I hope, how every different sect could do (and has done) the very same thing. It is a self-serving way of ‘co-opting’ the Holy Spirit. I too have the Holy Spirit because I affirm that Jesus is Lord, and as St. Paul says, no one can say this, except in the Holy Spirit. (1 Cor 12:3)

    I make no apologies for cajoling you yet again Bryan but this is far too important.

    If you insist on cajoling those with whom you disagree, then you are not prepared to enter into genuine dialogue, or participate here at Called To Communion. But thank you for stopping by, and may the Holy Spirit bring us to unity in the truth, and full communion.

    In the peace of Christ,

    – Bryan

  102. Dale (re:#99),

    You did not answer any of the questions that I asked you in #96. You are certainly free not to answer respectful, reasonable questions which are posed to you here, but it does not seem to be a very charitable reaction to people about whom you are very concerned, in terms of their eternal salvation.

    The Catholic Church does not teach that Purgatory is “another chance” that people get after they die. People who go to Purgatory only go there, because they are already *on their way to Heaven*. That is not another chance after death, my friend.

    The historic Christian belief in Purgatory is testified to in one of the seven Biblical books that Martin Luther removed from his version of the Bible (which Protestants thereafter accepted, even though Jesus and the apostles accepted those seven books).

    On your interpretation of Christ’s words, “It is finished,” as implying that the perfect righteousness of Christ is imputed to believers, how do you account for the fact that your interpretation contradicts Christ’s own words in the Lord’s Prayer, where He teaches His disciples how to pray. “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us…”?

    Dale, if all of our past, present, and future sins are forgiven at the moment we trust in Christ, and His perfect righteousness is imputed to us, then why does He even say that we should pray, “Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us”? In your Calvinist understanding, *all* of our trespasses have already been forgiven. How does this not contradict the words of the Lord’s Prayer?

    The Catholic Church does not teach “worship of Mary.” The Church *explicitly condemns* worship of anything and anyone other than God as idolatry. Do you have any understanding of what the Church teaches about the communion of saints? It doesn’t seem that you do, because if you did, it is less likely that you would claim that Catholics worship Mary.

    When I was a Reformed Baptist, I quoted 1 John 2:19 about “Catholic converts and other apostates” too. Dale, God both saves, and He humbles…! He has certainly humbled me.

    Concerning the necessity of the sacraments, as a Catholic, I affirm each verse of I Peter 3:18-21, including the last one, which explicitly states that baptism saves:

    18 For Christ also died for sins once for all, the righteous for the unrighteous, that he might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh but made alive in the spirit; 19 in which he went and preached to the spirits in prison, 20 who formerly did not obey, when God’s patience waited in the days of Noah, during the building of the ark, in which a few, that is, eight persons, were saved through water. 21 Baptism, which corresponds to this, now saves you, not as a removal of dirt from the body but as an appeal to God for a clear conscience, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ…

    (Source: http://www.biblestudytools.com/rsv/1-peter/passage.aspx?q=1-peter+3:18-21)

    Also about the necessity of the sacraments– as a Reformed Baptist, your “symbolic” understanding of John 6, on the Lord’s Supper (specifically, on the eating of His flesh and the drinking of His blood, without which Christ says we have no life in us) goes against the understanding of the Church from the first century until Ulrich Zwingli in the 1500s. Even Martin Luther vehemently spoke out against Zwingli for his “symbolic” understanding of the Eucharist.

  103. Dale – at the Last Supper, Jesus held up bread and said, “This is My Body.” You believe the Bible to be the Word of God. Do you believe that verse?

    jj

  104. P.S. Dale,

    Christ saves us through His death *and* through baptism *and* through the Eucharist. It is *all His grace*, Dale, not because of any of our works (as evidenced by the fact that *babies* are baptized in the Church!)– and, as I mentioned in #102, the Bible explicitly teaches the necessity of baptism as part of salvation.

  105. Dale,

    My English mates (or “friends” if you believe that by calling them “mates”) have never been offended by the term, much less my family Merseyside, perhaps things are different where you are, but I was not trying to be derogatory.

    So you see no difference between “…to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord?”

    AND

    ” …willing rather to be absent from the body, and to be present with the Lord.”

    The Greek work used for “willing” in the KJV (which you seem to be quoting) is εὐδοκοῦμεν, and seems to be translated as “prefer” in most modern translations. Strongs seems to indicate that the root means:

    1) it seems good to one, is one’s good pleasure
    a) think it good, choose, determine, decide
    b) to do willingly
    c) to be ready to, to prefer, choose rather

    2) to be well pleased with, take pleasure in, to be favourably inclined towards one.

    My point, friend, was that the verse is NOT saying that “to be absent from the body is to be present with the Lord,” but, rather, that we’d “prefer to be absent from the body, and be present with the Lord.”

    Those aren’t the same thing, friend. Who wouldn’t prefer to be present with the Lord, but it DOES NOT say that being absent from the body = being present with the Lord, not as you mean it,

    The point made to you about the thief on the cross and Jesus (who commended His spirit into His Father’s hands, and became “absent” from His body, promising the thief that “today” or “this day” he’d be with Him in paradise) seemed like a good one to me, and I am not sure you addressed it all that well.

    Did Jesus become absent from His body? Was that equal to being present with the Lord? Does St. Paul really say what you try to make him say or…? Are you reading into things a bit. I think the text is on my side.

    By the by…. your problem with the word “mate” being derogatory seems arbitrary… friend has a pretty similar range of meaning and could be used just as derogatorily from where I sit.

    Peace
    Chris

  106. Eric,

    :) I am not a sedevacantist. I am in communion with Rome. Aside from that, I do prefer the Extraordinary Form of the mass and wish it were more available in my area of the United States. But I would been in an interesting thought process of leaving the Protestant world into a different type of protestant world.

    I pretty much gathered that theology of the Eucharist from Benedict XVI’s “God is Near Us.” Joseph Ratzinger has a big influence on my entrance into the Church.

  107. Drew (re:#106),

    You wrote:
    I would been in an interesting thought process of leaving the Protestant world into a different type of protestant world.

    Not sure what you mean ?

    Joseph Ratzinger is very inviting through his books. Next to Thomas Aquinas, he supplied a large amount of my catholic formation. Promoting Ecumenism, as it appears in VII and the new canon law, is one of his strengths. I can’t endorse everything in the ecumenical movement, but his contribution to it has altered protestant-catholic relations (especially lutherans).

    Thanks,
    Eric

  108. Eric,

    When I look at the sedevacantists, I see a lot of similarities with Luther and Calvin’s conclusions. They are not in communion with Rome because they say that in some arbitrary way the pope is not the real pope. That is somewhat like the initial reformers. They might have focused more on the necessity of a pope, but nonetheless they gave up communion with Rome to continue with their own churches. Now, this is not all groups. I have been very happy with the progression of talks with the FSPPX. I hope and pray for a healing between that separation.

    I don’t know your background (if you are a part of the sedevacantist groups) so it is possible that I have insulted you. I have to learn how to present my information in a more sanctified way, but nonetheless that is my thoughts on those particular movements. I pray that one day we are all connected to the Body of Christ.

    Drew

  109. John (re:#85),

    You wrote:
    But it does seem to me that the Incarnation has, indeed, re-sacralised the world. There is so much one could go to here.

    Response:
    I like this. It made me think about the de-sacralising of the world caused by our first parents and satan. The last Adam did re-sacralise the world by assuming our nature. Mary was consumed by joy. But this order is not the only one. Sin led that first pair to “sacralise” the world for their own ends. God’s response inverted their plans by “de-sacralising” through redemption.

    The governing word-law of God, both creative and omnipotent, makes things sacred. Rebellion must replace these from the resources of dark hearts and minds. Blasphemies, superstitions, and boastful claims marked man’s sacralising of the world. Natural religions, extending to every facet of life, provide ample evidence of the process. By the time God gives His law, these religions had reached high levels of influence and domination. The same applies to the New Law under Christ.

    The redeeming words and acts of God make things de-sacred. We find this process in initial and progressive sanctification. For example, the new law broke down the clean-unclean distinction for animals. This breaking made animals sacred. When Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law, sin could not have power to use the law-distinction against us. Redemption from the curse made the old law de-sacred. The same is found in the eating of meat sacrificed to idols. He redeemed us from the “sacred” dominion of satan by de-sacralising the meat-idol connection.

    In short, the incarnate God makes the world sacred through His legislative authority, but de-sacred through redemptive authority.

    Thanks,
    Eric

  110. i appreciated this comment from fr. bryan, if you dont have the time to listen to us then why take the time to talk to us….

  111. Here is a quote from 8 /21/13 from the National Catholic Register:

    From Conflict to Communion: Lutheran-Catholic Commemoration of the Reformation in 2017,” has been released to pave the way for joint observances of Luther’s action by both Lutherans and Catholics, a development that certainly could not have been foreseen in previous centuries.

    Here is the link to “From Conflict to Communion:”
    http://www.lutheranworld.org/sites/default/files/From%20Conflict%20to%20Communion.pdf

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